Tennis

Sock shocks his way to Tour Finals

Unfancied American shelves holiday plans after snatching last spot for next week's season-ender

During a second-round Paris Masters match last week, Jack Sock was already thinking about his holiday destination later this month.

But the 25-year-old American will now be heading to London for the Nov 12-19 ATP World Tour Finals, after ending up as the winner of the Paris Masters on Sunday night.

The 16th seed beat Serbian qualifier Filip Krajinovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

Sock had trailed 5-1 in a deciding set during his second-round match against Britain's Kyle Edmund last Wednesday, but fought back before snatching the eighth and final spot for the year-ending event from Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta with the biggest title of his career.

This will be Sock's debut at the prestigious eight-man tournament. He also rose from 22nd to ninth in the latest world rankings released yesterday.

He is the first American to reach the Tour Finals since Mardy Fish in 2011 and also the first American to win a Masters tournament since former world No. 1 Andy Roddick took the Miami crown in 2010.

"Coming in this week, I had no idea I could even make London," Sock said.

"It wasn't in my head. I just wanted to play some good tennis last week and go start my off-season. Now to extend the season by another two weeks, and to keep playing and achieve a lot of firsts today, is incredible."

Sock, who will also become the US No. 1 for the first time after winning his third ATP title of the season, admitted he was "thinking about his holidays" during his opening Paris Masters win.

NO PRESSURE AT O2 ARENA

"I was thinking about my holidays (when a double-break down to Edmund). I tried to start shortening points and just going after my shots. They were landing and I was connecting a lot of them."

He said he would have nothing to lose when he arrives in London to take on the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

The other qualifiers for the season-ending event are Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and David Goffin.

Nadal's participation seemed in doubt, after the world No. 1 pulled out at the Paris Masters quarter-finals due to a knee injury last week. Carreno Busta is the first replacement should any of the eight qualifiers pull out.

Whoever he faces, Sock is content to just soak in the atmosphere at the O2 Arena.

"I obviously snuck into the eighth spot in London unexpectedly, so zero pressure on me to go there," he said.

"I'm going to swing big and play my game like I always do, and just, honestly, enjoy the moment." - AFP

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