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Sock topples Cilic to boost semi-final hopes

15 November, 2017, 02:10 | Author: Alberta Rodriguez
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In the absence of Rafael Nadal - who withdrew from the Nitto ATP Finals late on Monday night - it is hard to see who might stop Roger Federer from capping his glorious season with trophy No 8.

With Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray sidelined through injury, Federer is the only genuine star left in London and is the clear favorite to lift his seventh year-end title at the grand old age of 36.

Jack Sock mounted a spirited fightback to claim a first ATP World Tour Finals victory that leaves Marin Cilic facing an early exit.

The American - the first from his country to reach the event since Mardy Fish in 2011 - needed 2hrs 28mins to deny the big-hitting Croat in a momentum-shifting match.

Both players could ill afford another defeat after losing their first matches at the O2 Arena and there was a sense of deja vu for Cilic, who led Alexander Zverev 3-1 in the final set of his opening contest before being consigned to defeat.

"I'm not the type of guy that will just enter a draw and be happy to make the third round or the quarters or whatever".

Sock, a partying pal of Nick Kyrgios but possibly more focused, said on his arrival from Bercy, where he had to win the tournament to qualify, "I'm playing with the house's money".

The next break point didn't come until the 11th game.

Sock lost his debut match at the O2 Arena to Roger Federer, but he is now 1-1 in his round-robin group.

"I think Jack is playing really good".

Despite having been forced out of bed in the early hours of Tuesday morning by a fire alarm at his hotel, Sock made a fast start - breaking in the opening game, only to hand it straight back to his opponent.

Sock's nothing-to-lose mentality helped him, too, and there were deft drop shots and unexpected selections from the back of the court, with some fun with the crowd along the way as he kept his hopes of a semifinal place alive. "In those three matches that I played, I had good chances at least to win".

Sock was 3-0 down in the final set and looked exhausted and ragged for much of the match, but his touch, improvisation and fight didn't desert him.

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