After Jack Sock crashed out of the men’s singles draw at Wimbledon in the first round in spectacular fashion, he immediately left the tournament grounds without speaking to the press.
If the next place he popped up would’ve been the closest airport to head stateside, it wouldn’t have been too surprising after another disappointing performance at a Grand Slam—his fourth consecutive opening-round exit.
However, there was still work to be done at the All England Club.
The American is through to the second week at the tournament in men’s and mixed doubles, and he and his partners are strong contenders for titles in both fields.
In men’s doubles, Sock is playing with Mike Bryan as Bob Bryan, the other half of arguably the greatest doubles team to ever take the court, is still recuperating from a hip injury. The seventh seeds, who won a round at Queen’s Club this year in their only other tournament appearance, are through to the third round. The pair got through their opening match when their opponents, Andreas Seppi and Daniele Bracciali, were forced to retire; in the second round, they fought through a tough four-setter against Matwe Middelkoop and Sander Arends.
When play resumes on Monday, Bryan and Sock will face the unseeded German duo Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, who had to qualify for the tournament. With the upsets that have plagued the event—none of the top four teams made it past the second round—Sock and Bryan are the highest seeds left in the bottom half of the draw.
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Sock’s mixed doubles run to the second week is more surprising. While he may be a Grand Slam champion and Olympic gold medalist in the discipline, his partner, fellow American Sloane Stephens, rarely plays doubles, much less mixed. In fact, this is only her fourth career mixed doubles event.
They’ve demonstrated, though, that they make an effective combination. In the first round, the pair ran through Dominic Inglot and Samantha Stosur in less than an hour, then followed that up with a straight-sets win over Marcelo Demoliner and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, the No. 15 seeds. It will get more difficult for the Americans as they await the winner of a match between the second seeds Bruno Soares/Ekaterina Makarova and John Peers/Shuai Zhang.
Playing through to the second week of a Grand Slam in any field is always a positive—something Sock has been lacking all year on the singles side. His first-round loss to Matteo Berrettini—where he was up two sets to none before flaming out—was his third in a row at a major this year and dropped his overall singles record to 5-14.
If there’s been one saving grace for Sock, it’s been the doubles court. His most recent title came in Nice on clay before the French Open, and he also won hard-court tournaments in Delray Beach with Jackson Withrow and Indian Wells with John Isner.
It was his second career Masters title with Isner, who, like Sock, was struggling early in 2018. Isner used the momentum from that doubles run to push him to the title at the Miami Open, the first Masters 1000 title of his career, which returned him to the Top 10.
Can Sock pull off a similar feat after Wimbledon? The men’s doubles draw is working in favor of the 2014 champion, who won the title back then with Vasek Pospisil. And while the mixed doubles might have more roadblocks, if he and Stephens continue to play like they did the first two rounds, they have a legitimate shot at the title there, too.
Opportunities lie ahead in the second week of Wimbledon, a place that seemed unlikely after Sock’s singles showing.
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