Growing up, Jack Sock dreamt of being on the U.S. Davis Cup team. As he stated, going into the weekend, “There’s no better feeling than putting on the red, white and blue and playing for your country.”
Chances are, his experience this week was even better than any dream he had. Not only did he make his debut on the team as the number one singles player, he won both of his rubbers and, in doing so, secured a victory for the United States in the World Group playoff against Uzbekistan.
On Friday, after Steve Johnson lost the first singles match in five sets against Istomin, Sock stepped up and won a victory over Farrukh Dustov (5-7, 3-6, 2-6) to even the score between the two nations.
On Saturday, Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey held their serve throughout a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov, wrapping up the match in just over 90 minutes.
Then, on Sunday, Jack Sock, ranked No. 29, finished strong with a four-set victory (6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4) over Denis Istomin, ranked No. 62.
After starting out with ease, Sock struggled in the second set and had to regain momentum. By sheer determination of focus, Sock eventually found his way back. With Sock serving for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set, he saved four break points from Istomin, then saw two match points saved before finally closing out the win. It helped that the match was played on a clay surface — Sock’s favorite.
U.S. captain Jim Courier, not always known for being terribly supportive of rising U.S. players, had to admit “Closing out a tie is never easy, even for a veteran. For Jack to come through in his debut was very impressive.”
Sock’s victory gave the U.S. a 3-1 lead over Uzbekistan and completes a comeback from 1-0 down on Friday. Because Davis Cup teams no longer have to play a fifth match if one side already has an unbeatable 3-1 lead, the fifth rubber on Sunday (between world No. 47 Steve Johnson and 158th-ranked Uzbek Farrukh Dustov) was not played.
With Sock’s victory over Istomin securing the win, the U.S. Davis Cup team will continue its 26-year stay in the top-tier World Group.