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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sock Dismisses No. 2 Seed Herbert as First Round Action Concludes at Dunlop Orange Bowl

©Colette Lewis 2009--
Key Biscayne, FL--

Second seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France probably wasn't too familiar with Jack Sock, who has played very little on the ITF junior circuit, prior to their first round match Tuesday at the Dunlop Orange Bowl. Herbert may know a bit more now, after Sock cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over the ITF's 10th ranked junior on a tropically hot and humid day at Crandon Park.

Sock accepted a wild card into the tournament, fresh from a Pro Circuit Futures title on the clay of Amelia Island late last month, and his confidence was obvious from the start of the match. Having never played, Sock and Herbert both started a bit tentatively, without much of a rhythm established. Herbert blinked first, missing a volley on break point serving at 2-3, and Sock held his serve the next two times, although he survived a very long game with multiple deuces serving for the set at 5-3.

In the second set, Sock broke Herbert in the third game, and Herbert called for a trainer, who had him lying on the court face down for treatment. Herbert did hold to keep it close at 3-2, but when Sock broke him in the seventh game, the result was just a formality.

Sock admitted that his experience in Futures tournaments this fall has given him a different perspective on a junior event, even one with the reputation of the Orange Bowl.

"It's different, but I've got to play the same," he said after the match. "I can't drop my level or something because I'm playing a junior tournament. I have to keep up my level and hopefully that will dictate most of the matches."

Sock earned his first paycheck this fall, playing on the Pro Circuit, although as an amateur, he was accepting reimbursement for expenses, not prize money for winning.

"It's cool, but you get it and hand it right to your dad," he said. "He does the expenses with it. It's cool for about five seconds, and then he uses it for hotels and flights and stuff. I knew you win money, but I didn't know you actually accept a check right there."

As for whether he's considering turning pro, Sock said it would probably be "a last minute decision."

"I'm going to see how 2010 goes, and probably this time next year, I'll have a more clear view on what I'm going to do."

While Herbert was dropping out of the tournament, his countryman Gianni Mina, the top seed, came close to following him, but survived against lucky loser Nikolai Haessig of Canada 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

Eddie Herr champion Denis Kudla, seeded No. 7, advanced with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Romain Arneodo of France, and Yucatan champion Mitchell Frank, seeded No. 5, also reached the second round with a 6-1, 6-4 decision over Dovydas Sakinis of Lithuania.

Other American boys advancing to the second round are wild card Campbell Johnson and No. 16 seed Harry Fowler.

The most intriguing girls match of the day, between No. 2 seed Timea Babos and Eddie Herr finalist Di Zhao of China, a special exempt entry into the draw, went to Babos 6-2, 6-4. Both girls struggled at times with both the heat and their consistency, but Babos recovered late in the second set to avoid any complications.

Up a break at 4-3, Babos was broken, but a sloppy game by Zhao gave the Hungarian another lead. Serving for the match, Babos hit two aces and a service winner, and two points later she had her win, earning a Wednesday meeting with American Nicole Gibbs.

No. 15 seed Beatrice Capra, who is blogging this week for usta.com, retired with left knee injury against Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada, trailing 6-3, 4-6, 2-0.

Ester Goldfeld had to wait nearly six hours to play her match against qualifier Lou Brouleau of France, but came through the delay with a 7-5, 6-3 victory. She is joined in the second round by wild cards Ellen Tsay, who defeated qualifier Katerina Popova of Russia 6-0, 6-0 and Robin Anderson, who came back to claim a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 decision from qualifier Haochen Tang of China. Lucky loser Mary Clayton saved two match points in her 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 win over friend and doubles partner Alexandra Cercone.

The 16s first round matches were played at the Biltmore, but all play is scheduled for Crandon Park on Wednesday.

Although I am unable to download the Order of Play or the girls 18s draw this evening at the Dunlop Orange Bowl site, you may have better luck.