Sun, Jan 15, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Jack Sock takes Auckland crown against Joao Sousa

THREE-SETTER:The tournament’s fourth seed broke at 3-3 in the first set and was poised to take the second, but had to fight through the third set to take the match

AFP, AUCKLAND, New Zealand

Jack Sock celebrates defeating Joao Sousa at the Auckland Classic in New Zealand yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Jack Sock of the US triumphed in the final of the Auckland Classic yesterday with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win over Joao Sousa from Portugal.

It was a sweet outcome for Sock after he was forced to retire because of illness in last year’s final against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.

This year he stayed healthy and took less than two hours to dispose of Sousa, who had not dropped a set previously in the tournament.

It was a satisfying win for the world No. 23, who hoped it lead to an impressive run through the year.

“Any time you can take a title it feels really good,” said Sock, who had previously won a tournament in Houston, Texas, in 2015.

“Winning the whole tournament and going through a whole week without being beaten, is a massive confidence booster, not only in the short term... but for the year,” he said.

“I thought I was hitting the ball well. I was doing what I wanted to do, I was executing my game,” he said.

Sock, the tournament fourth seed who had been extended in two three-setters early in the week, broke at 3-3 when the Portuguese put a backhand volley into the net to take command of the first set.

After a break each early in the second set Sock was poised to take out the match at 5-4 with Sousa serving and down 0-30.

However, Sousa fought back with four straight points and continued to dominate when he broke Sock in the next game and went on to hold serve to level at a set each.

In the decider, Sock made the crucial break in the eighth game and then held serve for the championship.

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