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ATP Finals: Jack Sock edges Marin Cilic after a thriller

ATP Finals: Jack Sock edges Marin Cilic after a thriller

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by Jovica Ilic

After a super exciting match we saw on Monday night between Rafael Nadal and David Goffin, Jack Sock and Marin Cilic stayed on the court for 2 and a half hours, hoping to remain in contention for the place in the semi-final.

Jack Sock is the one who will hope for a positive outcome in tonight's clash between Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev, battling past Marin by 5-7 6-2 7-6 to claim his first victory at the elite ATP event. These two have met for the third time and the American was victorious in all of them, including a marvelous comeback in 2016 Davis Cup, when he trailed 2-0 before winning the next 3 sets.

He came from behind today as well after Cilic won the opener by 7-5, taking the second set by 6-2 and overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the decider to prevail in the tie break and earn a valuable triumph and 200 points. This was the first win for the American players at the ATP Finals since Andy Roddick in 2007.

As the result suggests, it was a very tight encounter, with Jack winning just 1 point more than Marin, 103-102. Croat had a slight edge on his first serve and the American was more efficient on the second, but Jack faced 7 break points against 10 that Marin had to battle against.

Sock lost serve 3 times and he scored 4 breaks on the other hand, the crucial one in the 5th game of the final set when he erased his initial deficit to get back on the scoreboard. Lincoln native controlled his shots better, finishing the encounter with 33 winners and 25 unforced errors, while Cilic managed to hit 33 winners but also 35 errors, missing equally from both wings.

Marin had a small advantage in the points up to 4 shots (71-68) but Jack overcame that in the mid-range segment, where he had the upper hand with a 28-23 lead. They also had a similar number of service winners and it virtually all came down to those last few points of the tie break.

It was a sluggish start from both, as they traded breaks in the opening service games, showing the signs of nerves in a very important duel for both. Jack grabbed a lead when Marin netted a forehand but it was a short one, as he got broken a few minutes later after sending a forehand long.

They settled into a nice rhythm from game 3, with 8 easy holds to bring the result to 5-5, and Marin saved a break point in game 11 thanks to a luck from above, as his forehand hit the top of the net and just landed on the other side, staying out of Sock's reach.

Jack served to stay in the set and he couldn't hold the pressure, Marin created 3 set points with a nice forehand attack and he converted the third one to move 7-5 in front after 51 minutes of play. In set number 2 Jack cracked rival's second serve and won 10 out of 13 points when Marin missed the first, creating 5 break points and converting 2 to clinch the set by 6-2.

The first break came in the opening game and American fends off 2 break points in game 4 to build a 3-1 lead. The winner of the set was decided in the 5th game when Cilic's forehand finished wide, and there was no coming back from him a 4-1 deficit.

Jack sealed the set with an ace in the 8th game, where he lost 12 out of the opening 13 points to find himself 3-0 down. As we already said, he broke back in game 5 and we saw great serving from both in the rest of the set, with 3 points for the returners in the next 7 games to settle into a deciding tie break.

There, Marin was 4-2 in front and Jack pulled it back with an amazing point at the net, leveling the score at 4-4 and stealing the momentum. He earned another mini-break when Cilic missed a backhand and he brought the match home 2 points later, after another error from the Croat.

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