By Chris Oddo | Friday March 17, 2017
Jack Sock battled past Kei Nishikori for his first career Top 5 win on Friday at Indian Wells. He'll face Roger Federer in Saturday's semis.
Photo Source: Clive Brunsill/Getty
Jack Sock kept American hopes alive at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday by notching his biggest career win. The 24-year-old edged No. 4-seeded Kei Nishikori for his first Top-5 win in eight tries, and booked his spot in the semifinals of a Masters 1000 semifinal for the first time ever.
After a hold for 3-1, Sock went back on the attack and played a gritty game, finally breaking Nishikori on his fifth break point attempt to take a commanding 4-1 lead. The American would hold for 5-1 and then again two games later to clinch the victory in one hour and 48 minutes.
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His reward? A date with 18-time major champion Roger Federer on Saturday.
Sock’s breakthrough has certainly been coming. The Nebraska native reached his third consecutive quarterfinal at a Masters 1000 by saving four match points to take out Grigor Dimitrov in the third round before edging Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri in the round of 16. In total, the American has won four consecutive three-setters at Indian Wells, seven of eight on the season, and 15 of his last 18.
Previously considered to one of the more unfit players on tour, Sock has shored up his stamina and is now winning the type of matches he always seemed to struggle in.
On Friday, under the hot early afternoon sun, it was Nishikori that appeared to be wilting in the heat. The Japanese was flat by his usual standards in the early going, and even though he played an inspired second set, he couldn’t make his good form last. He fell behind early by a break in set three and failed to convert his lone break point in the next game. Nishikori did save a break point to hold for 1-2 but he appeared to injure himself while doing so.
Sock will face Federer, who advanced earlier on Friday when Nick Kyrgios pulled out of their heavily anticipated quarterfinal with food poisoning, for the third time. Federer owns a 2-0 edge over Sock, defeating him twice in straight sets in 2015