Four-time Kansas 6A tennis champion Jack Sock, who graduated last spring from Blue Valley North High School, won his first Grand Slam tennis victory Wednesday with a victory over Marc Gicquel of France in his opening-round singles match at the U.S. Open in New York City.
The 18-year-old local tennis star lost in four sets in his first Grand Slam singles match at the U.S Open a year ago. Sock beat Gicquel, who at 34 is the oldest player in the tournament, in four sets: 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4. Gicquel came into the U.S. Open as the 96th-ranked player in the world.
Sock moves on to the second round, where he will be matched against Andy Roddick. Roddick, 29, won his opening match with Michael Russell 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Roddick won the U.S. Open in 2003 and is a former No. 1-ranked player.
Sock was able to play his way into the U.S. Open both last year and this year by virtue of his winning the U.S. Tennis Association's boys under-18 national championship. He won the U.S. Open junior championship in 2010, making him the first American to win the boys' title since one Andy Roddick in 2000.
"We're good friends," Sock said about his next singles opponent, "but when we play, it will be two tennis players battling it out to get to the third round."
Sock and his men's doubles partner Jackson Withrow lost their opening-round match on Tuesday. The former Blue Valley North player will pair up with Melanie Oudin in mixed doubles later today.
It wasn't as good a day on Wednesday for Bob and Mike Bryan, one of the top men's doubles teams in the world and who for the past six years have played with the Kansas City Explorers of World Team Tennis. The defending U.S. Open men's doubles champions and No. 1 seed lost in the first round this year, defeated by unseeded Ivo Karlovic and Frank Moser 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. The Bryan brothers had won three of the last four Grand Slam titles and tied the Open-era record with their 11th Grand Slam championship at Wimbledon this summer.
"We're used to being in the second week," Mike Bryan said. "It's going to be weird." His brother Bob is scheduled to play in mixed doubles, but Mike was only entered in men's doubles with his brother.