Former Blue Valley North grad and Kansas state tennis champion Jack Sock wanted to be able to play into the second week of this year's U.S. Open tennis championship. With first and second-round exits in men's doubles and singles competition, respectively, chances of making it to the second week were drawing slim. The 18-year-old local tennis star had one last hope: in mixed doubles.
Playing with poise and precision, Sock and his doubles partner, fellow American Melanie Ouidin, put a string of wins together that advanced them through the draw and into the semifinal round. A couple of days of heavy rain in the New York City area was about the only thing that slowed the Sock-Ouidin team down.
In the semifinals, which were postponed 24 hours until Thursday due to the soggy weather, the doubles pair were scheduled to take on seventh-seeded Leander Paes of India and Elena Vesnina of Russia. The match never took place, however, as Paes injured his leg in a losing cause in the men's doubles quarterfinals earlier Thursday and was forced to scratch from the mixed doubles semifinals. As a result, Sock and Ouidin advanced to the finals without having to set foot on the court on Thursday.
The American team will take on the doubles pair of Gisela Dulko and Eduardo Schwank of Argentina in the final.
"To be able to come out here and be playing at the end of the second week at the Open in any event, even mixed (doubles), is a lot of confidence," Sock said. Should Sock and his partner win the mixed doubles championship, it would be the four-time Kansas high school state champion's first title in an official Grand Slam event. He won the U.S. Open championship at the junior level last year.