American Jack Sock made an impressive start to his title defense at the Rolex Paris Masters on Wednesday, never losing serve en route to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
The 16th-seeded Sock, who got a first-round bye this week, faced four break points in the second-round match—including three in the first game of the second set—but he fought them all off and held all nine of his service games to dispatch the talented Frenchman after an hour and 17 minutes.
Sock has now beaten Gasquet in all four of their career meetings, and his victory over the 28th-ranked Frenchman was actually his first victory against a player ranked in the Top 30 all year.
“The way my year’s gone, it just feels good to get a win,” Sock told RolexParisMasters.com.
“If you had asked me a few weeks ago, I would say I felt a lot of pressure this week. But the way things have been going, I decided to just have fun, play big and see what happens. Today it paid off.”
Awaiting Sock in the third round is Malek Jaziri, who beat Fernando Verdasco at night, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 6-3.
Jaziri got into the main draw as a lucky loser on Wednesday after Rafael Nadal, who was the No. 1 seed at the Masters 1000 event, pulled out of the tournament due to an abdominal injury.
Sock has beaten Jaziri in both of their previous meetings, though both were very tough three-setters, a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) win at Stockholm in 2016 and a 4-6, 7-6 (1), 7-5 victory at Indian Wells in 2017.
For Sock, a loss in the coming days could be devastating to his ranking. He has 1,400 points coming off on Monday—1,000 from winning Paris last year and 400 for reaching the semifinals of the ATP Finals (where he’s out of the running in singles this year—though he has qualified in doubles with Mike Bryan). Those 1,400 ranking points represent almost 80% of his current points total of 1,760.
If Sock were to lose to Jaziri on Thursday, he would likely drop from No. 23 to outside the Top 120.
The American could hang onto a spot in the Top 100 by reaching the semifinals this week.
“I’m just trying to finish on a positive,” Sock added. “The way things have gone this year, I’ve been getting pretty down on myself, but my team and friends and people around me have kept me going, keeping my spirits up. I’ve had doubts going through my head, but I also know the level I can play.”
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ATP Paris (Mon - Sun 10.29 - 11.4)
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WTA Zhuhai (Mon - Sun 10.29 - 11.4)
- Tennis Channel PLUS has live action of Zhuhai starting Tuesday 10/30 at 12:30 AM EST
USTA Tyler (Tue - Sun 10.30 - 11.4)
-Tennis Channel PLUS features live competition and on-demand coverage of every WTA match from USTA Tyler beginning Tuesday 10/30 11:00 AM EST