Sock Repeats as National Champion
Schneider Collects First Singles Gold Ball at Kalamazoo
by Colette Lewis
, 19 August 2011
|Share: || || |
Jack Sock added USTA gold balls number 22 and 23 to his collection last weekend, defending his 18s singles title with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Mitchell Frank while also capturing the doubles championship during an aggravating 10 days of wet weather in Kalamazoo. Ronnie Schneider won his first singles gold ball when he claimed the 16s championship with a 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-2 win over Luca Corinteli, and he too swept both titles - one indoors and one outdoors.
The top-seeded Sock found himself in the unprecedented position of needing to finish his semifinal match with No. 4 seed Marcos Giron on Sunday morning due to long and frequent rain delays on Saturday. Sock was leading by a set and serving up 3-2 when play was halted on Saturday, but he was able to hold off Giron to finish the 7-6(5), 6-3 win in 20 minutes. Sock, who had won four consecutive matches 6-1, 6-1, wasn't tested until the semifinals, but was able to win the big points in that contest, despite having little practice in facing them during his previous matches on Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium courts.
In the final, delayed nearly three hours after rain twice disrupted the 16s championship match before it, Sock looked focused and confident, despite having lost to Frank in their last meeting, some 20 months ago.
Due to the interrupted semifinal and the continuing threat of rain Sunday, the 18s final, usually best-of-five sets, was reduced to best-of-three.
"I think with the unexpected weather and the crazy stuff that happened this week, two out of three was probably the right thing to do," said Sock, who will turn 19 next month. "It was a crazy week, but I played pretty well this week and I'm glad I got the job done."
In addition to his always dangerous forehand, Sock's serve proved a huge asset against the second-seeded Frank. He reached the mid-120s on the radar gun multiple times, but still made a high percentage of first serves, helping him control points and end them quickly. Frank's opportunities to break came early - he had a 0-40 lead with Sock serving at 1-1 - but Sock hit three forehand winners and an ace to get out of that tight spot.
"Things obviously could have been a lot different if I had gotten broken there," said Sock, who needed only an hour to retain his title. "I was fortunate to get out of that game."
Frank also had two break points with Sock serving at 3-1, and there were several questionable service line calls overruled and replayed - or not - in that game.
"I had a break point and he double faulted," said Frank, who won the Allen B. Stowe sportsmanship award. "They didn't call it and I couldn't quite get that one out of my head for a bit, and it cost me. With a player like him, you have to be focused the whole time, and I kind of lost my focus there."
Sock went on to hold, and Frank did not get another break point opportunity in the set, or the match.