TWO FIRSTS FOR SOCK

Amer­i­can beats top five op­po­nent, reaches Mas­ters 1000 semis

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IN­DIAN WELLS Beach Open in Flor­ida and at the Auck­land Clas­sic in Jan­uary.

Eigh­teen-time grand slam win­ner Fed­erer ad­vanced to the semi-finals with­out lift­ing a rac­quet as sus­pected food poi­son­ing forced Aus­tralian Nick Kyr­gios to with­draw from their much an­tic­i­pated quar­ter-fi­nal.

Kyr­gios, who beat No­vak Djokovic for the sec­ond tour­na­ment in a row to reach the last eight, took to twit­ter about an hour be­fore the sched­uled start of the match against the Aus­tralian Open cham­pion to an­nounce his with­drawal.

“I’m so sorry but I can’t play to­day,” he said. “Af­ter a rest­less night of be­ing sick I have noth­ing left and to play a great cham­pion like Roger, I need to be at my best to have a chance.

“I don’t take this de­ci­sion lightly, th­ese are the matches we train for but I’m in no fit state to take the court.”

Sock had no such prob­lems and he hit the mark right at the start of de­cid­ing third set by break­ing Nishikori in the open­ing game as the World No 5 strug­gled to find the range on his usu­ally pin­point ground­strokes.

The Amer­i­can earned the im­por­tant

I feel like I’m playing some great ten­nis right now.”

JACK SOCK

sec­ond break against a bat­tling Nishikori by con­vert­ing his fifth break point of a marathon fifth game be­fore go­ing on to serve out vic­tory in one hour 48 min­utes.

“I think he served re­ally well,” said Nishikori. “I was hav­ing a re­ally tough time with my re­turn, miss­ing a lot, and giv­ing him a lot of short balls. And he was at­tack­ing re­ally well, first and third sets.

“I didn’t play my best ten­nis to­day, but I think he played good ten­nis also.”

Sock has lost his two pre­vi­ous matches against Fed­erer, in­clud­ing a 6-3, 6-2 de­ci­sion at In­dian Wells in 2015.

“The last time I played him here I didn’t re­ally go out on court think­ing I had much of a chance,” said Sock. “He’s playing some good ten­nis, I’m playing some good ten­nis, so I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to a bat­tle.” Reuters

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