Jack Sock’s run at the French Open continued Saturday. Now he faces one of the biggest challenges of his pro career.
Sock, a former four-time Kansas Class 6A champion at Blue Valley North High, defeated Croatian teenager Borna Coric 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the third round.
The victory set up a round of 16 match with nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who beat Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.
Sock advanced to the round of 16 in men’s singles at a major tennis tournament for the first time in his career.
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“It was a good day for me,” Sock told reporters after the match. “I was fortunate enough to play great tennis. And once again, things I was looking to do I was able to do that very well today.”
Sock had six aces and 31 winners, and he took advantage of 29 unforced errors by Coric. He converted five of 10 break-point chances and saved the only break point he faced, winning 30 of 34 first-serve points.
“I usually feel pretty good when I’m hitting a lot of forehands, especially from the left side of the court, and able to move the ball around and dictate play,” Sock said. “I was able to do that today fortunately.”
Coric credited Sock with a strong performance.
“He just played way too good today,” Coric said. “He was serving too big. His forehands were very heavy and I was struggling to cope with that.”
Sock is the only American left in men’s singles. At age 22, He became the youngest American to reach the round of 16 since Pete Sampras in 1993.
Sock has played well on clay this year, having also won his first ATP World Tour title last month in Houston. His previous best result in the French Open was a third-round finish last year.
“I feel like it maximizes my game more than other surfaces,” Sock said of playing on clay. “I’m able to set up and dictate with the forehand again. (My serve) definitely gets up. It definitely makes my shots a little more lethal than on other surfaces. It feels like it suits my game very well. I feel very comfortable on it.”