The Associated PressPARIS (AP) — After being one game away from going home early in the tournament, Jack Sock won the Paris Masters on Sunday to qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals in London.
Sock beat Filip Krajinovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. It is easily the biggest trophy so far in the 25-year-old American’s career.
Before coming to Paris, the 16th-seeded Sock didn’t even think of London.
But after winning his first Masters title, he will be making the short trip to England to compete against Roger Federer and the other six who made it from the ATP race.
“Coming in this week I had no idea I could even make London. It wasn’t in my head,” Sock said. “Incredible week. Hard to describe, honestly. I don’t think it’s really hit or soaked in yet.”
Especially as on Wednesday, his mind was drifting way off somewhere.
Deep into the third set against Britain’s Kyle Edmund — a tough opponent in the second round — Sock found himself trailing 5-1.
“I was thinking about my holidays ... I’m proud of myself for fighting and getting through,” Sock said. “To come back from the deficit I was down and to have this trophy next to me now has been an incredible achievement.”
Fast forward to Sunday and he now walks away from Paris with a check worth nearly $1 million and a jump up the rankings to No. 9. Sock already knows how he is going to approach the finals.
“I’m going to swing big and play my game, like I always do,” he said. “Just enjoy the moment.”
This was his fourth career title.
He sealed victory on his first match point when Krajinovic, a Serbian qualifier ranked No. 77, sent a backhand long. Sock fell onto his back with his hands on his face, then jumped into the seating area to celebrate with his team.
“I had some anxious sleep last night,” Sock said. “I was able to find that groove in the second and third [sets].”
He is the first American winner here since Andre Agassi in 1999; and the first American winner of a Masters tournament since Andy Roddick at Miami in 2010.
“I’ve had a rough season pretty much since, since March,” Sock said. “I just wanted to play some good tennis my last week and go start my offseason.”
With a wry smile, Sock said he would be celebrating with “just a water on the rocks.”
Krajinovic was the first qualifier in a Masters final since Jerzy Janowicz, also here, in 2012.
After losing, the 25-year-old Serb sat slumped in his chair, shaking his head in disappointment.
He had only played finals on the challenger circuit before, winning all five of them, and came through the qualifying rounds. He seemed to run out of energy in the third set.