Jack Sock has reached his first ATP Masters semifinal with a commanding win over No.4 seed Kei Nishikori at the BNP Paribas Open.
Sock responded to the loss of the second set with an aggressive yet composed showing in the third, running out a 6-2 3-6 6-2 winner.
It’s his first win over a top-five player and sets up a semifinal with Roger Federer.
Federer earlier on Friday progressed to the last four without hitting a ball when opponent Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the tournament with illness.
“I didn’t realise that (was my first top-five win) until after (the announcer)¬†was saying it on court. Yeah, it’s a great feeling,” Sock said.
“I thought it was tricky conditions out there today for both guys. First match for me there was a lot of wind and for a lot of reasons a tricky match, but I was able to stay solid through most of it and come out with the win.
“Probably first (Masters) semifinal (is the bigger achievement). I made a couple of quarters now. But, you know, top-five win was hopefully inevitable at one point I was going to get that.
“To get to my first semi at one of my favourite tournaments of the year, it feels very special to play in front of the home crowd. It’s so great here. Just to advance and keep going, play another match, feels good.”
Sock, seeded 17th, began brightly on yet another hot, sunny day in the Californian desert, playing aggressively and showing his polish at the net.
He opened up a 3-0 lead and had two points for a double break before Nishikori got on the board in the fourth game.
Yet after Sock took the opening set, his backhand lost its range.
Nishikori held for 2-1 in the second when Sock sent a backhand into the net halfway up, and broke to love in the next game after another backhand error from the American.
The fourth seed levelled the match at a set apiece yet suddenly, the momentum swung again.
Sock broke serve immediately and then, after five break points in the fifth game, finally converted for a double break.
With his forehand clicking, he brutalised Nishikori from the back of the court to extend his lead to 5-1 and when serving for the match at 5-2 continued to hit out confidently.
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