Sock Passes Haas Test In Houston
For nearly two hours, 39-year-old Tommy Haas was about even with Jack Sock, who's been one of the hottest players on the ATP World Tour this season. But the 24 year old eventually pulled away from the former World No. 2 on Thursday, moving into the quarter-finals and winning what will likely be Haas' final match at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. US Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston.
The top-seeded American saved four of five break points – all four saved came in the final set – to beat Haas 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and take the lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. Haas, who won the Houston title in 2004, had captured their first meeting at 2013 Roland Garros but Sock had prevailed in straight sets in Auckland in 2014.
“I knew it was going to be fun to go out there. Who knows how many he has left in him,” Sock said. “He gave his all. I had to come through with some good tennis in the end to win.”
The American will face Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who beat #NextGenATP player Hyeon Chung of South Korea 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. Sock is looking to win his second Houston crown after winning the tournament in 2015 for his maiden ATP World Tour title.
The Nebraska native finished off a perfect 5-0 day for Americans in Houston. Second seed John Isner hit 20 aces and didn't face a break point to outlast Argentine qualifier Leonardo Mayer 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-3 in two hours and 16 minutes. Third seed Sam Querrey needed only 72 minutes to dismiss Argentina's Horacio Zeballos 6-4, 6-4. Steve Johnson broke Germany's Dustin Brown twice to win 7-6(12), 6-4.
In the quarter-finals, Johnson will try to earn his first win against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who advanced to the last eight 7-6(4), 6-1 against Argentina's Nicolas Kicker. Verdasco leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Johnson 4-0, three of which have come on clay.
The youngest American remaining in the draw celebrated reaching his first ATP World Tour quarter-final. #NextGenATP player Ernesto Escobedo won 89 per cent of his first-serve points to prevail past Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
On Wednesday, the 20-year-old Escobedo, who received a wild card into the main draw, earned his first ATP World Tour win on clay. The California native will meet Isner in the last eight.
“First quarter-final and it's on clay. Would never have thought about that at all,” Escobedo said. “I feel really comfortable here. It's a great environment.”