Childhood Friends Claim Glory In Delray Beach
Americans Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow have known each other since their pre-teen years playing junior tennis together in Nebraska. Sock grew up in Lincoln, just 45 minutes from Withrow in Omaha. So while Sock has soared into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings and had already won eight tour-level doubles titles heading into Sunday's final at the Delray Beach Open, it was only fitting that he partnered his longtime friend Withrow to his maiden triumph, beating fourth seeds Nicholas Monroe and John-Patrick Smith 4-6, 6-4, 10/8.
"It's something that I've always planned on doing and pictured doing," Withrow said. "To do it with him, it makes it more special, for sure."
Prior to this week, the pair had played three tour-level events together and failed to win a match. They had faltered twice since August (Cincinnati and Auckland) and lost in the first round of the 2011 US Open when they were teenagers.
"I felt like we had kind of missed out on some opportunities and we also just didn't click some of the time," Withrow admitted. "Fortunately for us, it's not much about the tennis. it's more about our friendship and being able to see each other."
And while Sock is a full-fledged star on the ATP World Tour, Withrow is on the rise on the doubles scene as well. The 24-year-old, who entered the week No. 97 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, partnered Austin Krajicek (they both played at Texas A&M University) to the final of the Ecuador Open in Quito two weeks ago in what was his first tour-level championship match (l. to Jarry/Podlipnik-Castillo).
The unseeded duo of Sock/Withrow backed up Match Tie-break wins this week over Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the quarter-finals and Ben McLachlan and Hugo Nys in the semi-finals with a third consecutive three-set win to clinch the title after 79 minutes. Sock now has nine ATP World Tour doubles titles. The championship run may have surprised some, but Sock was always confident they could triumph.
"I'm not really [surprised]," said Sock. "I've established myself in the doubles world for a while now. I've played well against a lot of teams. Obviously the Bryans are the greatest team to ever play and, I think, forever will be. Any time you get a win against those guys is fun and special... that was a great win for us, probably a big confidence boost."
In the final, Sock and Withrow secured the pivotal mini-break in the final at 8/7 in the Match Tie-break before clinching the title on their second championship point. Sock has now won the Delray Beach doubles title on two occasions after winning his first tour-level doubles title at the event in 2013 (w/Blake). Monroe and Smith looked in control of the match at a set and 3-1 up, but Sock and Withrow rallied with two breaks of serve and three service holds to level the match at a set apiece.
Sock and Withrow will receive 250 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $30,190 in prize money. Monroe and Smith collect 150 points and share $15,870.
Did You Know?
Jack Sock was coronated as 'The King of Delray Beach' earlier this week. Sock, who also won numerous junior titles in Delray Beach, also lifted the singles title once, last year (w/o Raonic).