Jack Sock is getting quite the workout at the BNP Paribas Open, with all four of his matches stretching to three sets on his way to the semi-finals. The 24-year-old American notched his biggest singles victory yet with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 quarterfinal win over Kei Nishikori on Friday. Sock finally broke through against a top-five ranked opponent after losing his first seven matches against such competition.
Sock will need to keep up his strength for his semi-final against four-time Indian Wells champion Roger Federer. He lost to Federer in straight sets in the fourth round of the 2015 tournament.
Roger Federer reached the 10th Indian Wells Masters semi-final of his career by walkover on Friday as Australian Nick Kyrgios withdrew from their highly anticipated quarter-final with food poisoning. Federer’s 18th Grand Slam title in January came after a frustrating 2016 campaign marred by injury.
What did they say?
Jack Sock on his critics
“The doubters in the past can’t really say much anymore, I actually feel almost stronger as the tournament has gone on.”
On playing against Roger:
“When I played him here last and I played him in Basel a couple years ago, I don’t think I went on the court giving myself a ton of chances of winning. That’s changed, for sure, I am playing confident tennis as well. If I go out there and play the right tennis and play the right strategy, I can give myself a shot.”
Roger Federer on the eve of big Semi Final:
“I think the six months off last year was really difficult. I played one tournament where I felt normal. All the other tournaments either I was sick, hurt or injured. To be back on court feeling normal again is so nice, you feel just happy and fresh and I think it translates also to my game. I can play freely, take chances like I have nothing to lose – it might be one of the first times in a long, long time I feel this way.”
Road to Semi Final for Jack Sock
It has been a rollercoaster ride through the Indian Wells draw for Sock, who saved four match points to upset Grigor Dimitrov in the third round before being two points from defeat in his fourth-round win over Malek Jaziri.
Sock was 0-7 down against Top 5 opponents before his victory over the No. 5-ranked Nishikori. The Nebraska native was appearing in his third successive singles quarter-final at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, having lost prior to the quarter-final stage in his first 23 appearances at this level. Sock was under pressure early in his third FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with Nishikori, but after holding serve from 15/40 in the first game, the Kansas resident then broke Nishikori to 15 and went on to seal the opening set. Breaks for Nishikori in the fourth and eighth games of the second set saw him level the contest, but Sock immediately regained control in the third set, breaking in the first game.
The 17th-seeded American earned a second break as he converted his fifth break point in an almost 10-minute fifth game and it proved decisive, as Sock went on to serve out victory in one hour and 48 minutes.
Sock closed his 2016 campaign by playing 33 matches (singles and doubles) in 33 days from 3 October to 4 November, and it stood him in good stead going into an intense off-season. He then opened 2017 in hot form, winning titles in Auckland (defeated Sousa) and Delray Beach (walkover vs Raonic).
Road to Semi Final for Roger Federer
Federer got an unexpected day off after Kyrgios withdrew less than two hours before they were to take the court. The Aussie tweeted that he “had a restless night of being sick.” He said, “to play a great champion like Roger, I need to be at my best to have a chance.”
Kyrgios’ withdrawal spoiled the highly anticipated match with Federer. Both players had dropped serve in the tournament and their only other meeting was decided in three tiebreakers at Madrid in 2015. Kyrgios beat No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the fourth round, while Federer routed rival Rafael Nadal. Federer, a four-time winner at Indian Wells, also advanced via a walkover in the quarterfinals in 2008.
Head to Head details
Both have faced each other twice so far in their respective careers and both the times it was Roger who trumped over the rookie American. Following are some of the stats of those events :
|Indoor Hard||Semis||Roger Federer||6-3, 6-4|
|2015||ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells
|Outdoor Hard||Round of 16||Roger Federer||6-3, 6-2|
Jack Sock loves it at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden so much, he tries to spend as much time on the court as possible and his opponent is a well oiled machine and with a day’s break behind him, Roger will come all guns blazing. Expect a tight contest if Roger hasn’t warmed up but if the Swiss legend decides to flip the script then it has to be game set for him.