Jack Sock beats Marin Cilic in three-set thriller at ATP Finals to boost semi-final hopes
Sock will meet Alexander Zverev in his final round-robin encounter on Thursday while Cilic will face world No 2 Roger Federer
By Mathieu Wood
Last Updated: 14/11/17 11:16pm
Jack Sock recorded an enthralling three-set victory over Marin Cilic to enhance his chances of progressing past the round-robin stages of the ATP Finals.
Both players suffered opening day defeats and it was Sock who responded the best to record a 5-7 6-2 7-6(4) victory in two hours and twenty-seven minutes.
It was the American world No 9, the Paris Masters champion, who started the quickest breaking his Croatian opponent in the opening game of the match but he was broken back immediately.
Both players held their serve for the remainder of the opening set until the former US Open champion secured a decisive break in the 12th game of the match to take the initiative.
Sock recovered from the disappointment of losing the first set in fine fashion breaking his opponent's opening service game to repeat the feat from the first set.
The American No 1 increased his advantage in the second set with a further break of the Cilic serve to move 4-1 ahead before he served out in style with an ace to force the deciding third set - the fourth time already this week that a match has gone the distance.
Cilic, playing in his third ATP Finals, made the first breakthrough in the decider to help the Croatian move to a 3-0 lead but Sock recovered his composure to claim three games on the bounce, including a fourth break of Cilic's serve.
Sock twice served well under pressure to stay in the match and despite falling a mini-break behind in the tiebreak recovered to win five unanswered points to claim victory.
Shot of the match
'Showtime' thrilled with victory
"That was a tough one for sure," Sock told Sky Sports' Annabel Croft during his on-court interview. "The fire alarm went off at 4am so it's been a long morning. It's an amazing atmosphere here and I love playing in London and in front of the fans here. I'm excited to get the win and stay alive.
"He hit a few netcords today, but that's tennis. It is what it is, you have to deal with it. Marin's an incredible player, he's had an amazing season but I was able to get through.
"My coach nicknamed me showtime when I was young. I play a different style and there's always a lot going on, I don't even know what I'm going to do sometimes, it keeps it fun."
He (Cilic) does seem to tighten up and a little too often of late. I just think he is thinking too much. In tennis conscious thinking is the enemy of a great tennis player. Whatever he is thinking about needs to be eliminated from his mind.
The most frustrated player will be Marin Cilic. It is not as if he is not trying to find a solution to the problem. Maybe he needs to hire a sports psychologist to get his thought process correct.
Sock will hope to defeat Zverev in the final round-robin meeting in the Boris Becker group in a match which could decide who progresses to the semi-finals while Cilic will face Federer hoping to finish his ATP Finals campaign with his first victory of the week.
Cilic v Sock: Match Stats
|77%||1st serve win percentage||75%|
|49%||2nd serve win percentage||53%|
|3/7||Break points converted||4/10|
|102||Total points won||103|
The season-ending extravaganza ATP Finals ends another memorable year which will be covered via our website www.skysports.com/tennis with live blogs, reports, reaction and expert analysis as the season reaches its climax.
Tennis updates straight to your phone
How to receive all the latest tennis news straight to your mobile
On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation. Who will win the World Tour Finals this year? Have your say...