Winning championships while having fun is what Kansas State high school tennis champion Jack Sock is all about, and on Friday he claimed his biggest title yet. Sock and doubles partner Melanie Ouidin sliced and slammed their way through an international field to capture the mixed doubles championship at the U.S. Open in New York City.
Sock, 18, and his 19-year-old partner defeated Gisela Dulko and Eduardo Schwank of Argentina 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 10-8 (tie breaker). To even get that far, however, the young dynamic duo had to get by defending champions and tournament favorite Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber. Bryan and his brother, Mike, have played for the Kansas City Explorers in World Team Tennis the past six years.
Sock, who played high school tennis locally at Blue Valley North, claims that good chemistry and just going out and having fun helped deflect some of the pressure of playing on a Grand Slam stage and largely contributed to the pair's success on the court at the Open.
"I think that's kind of why we have being doing well this week," Sock said. "It's been like that all tournament for us. Kind of just like playing loose, swinging and having a good time."
This is Sock's second U.S. Open championship. He won the Open singles title a year ago at the junior level. The doubles victory caps a successful two weeks for the local tennis star. In the opening round, Sock won his first Grand Slam singles match before losing to former U.S.. Open champ Andy Roddick in round two.
Sock's partner, Ouidin, from Marietta, Ga., is an accomplished player in her own right. She is a former No. 2-ranked junior player. Ouidin advanced to the quarterfinals in women's singles in 2009. The pair will split $150,000 for winning the mixed doubles crown.
"They're so young," said Dulko about her finals' opponents. "It's unbelievable what they did."