Following three solid matches at Roland Garros this season, nine-time champion Rafael Nadal will be faced with his first legitimate obstacle in the draw when he comes up against America’s Jack Sock in the fourth round of the tournament. This will serve as the first meeting between the two competitors and will certainly be an entertaining affair on Monday.
In a surprisingly quick rise in form, Nadal managed to secure entry into the fourth round of the French Open following yet another straight sets win against Andrey Kuznetsov. Seeded sixth at this year’s tournament, Nadal struck 33 winners and converted eight break points to secure the 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 win.
“It will be not fair if I say that I am not happy about what happened this first week, being fourth round without losing a set,” said Nadal. “I think playing solid, consistent. That’s what I need to. Then I arrive the second week and you know that you have to go that extra step to have chances. So I hope to have a good practice tomorrow and be ready to play a great match on Monday, because I will need it.”
Nadal will come up against Jack Sock, who earned his place in his first Grand Slam fourth round when he defeated 18-year-old Borna Coric in straight sets. He struck six aces and 31 winners to close out the match 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
“It was a good day for me,” Sock said. “I was fortunate enough to play great tennis. And once again, things I was looking to do I was able to do that very well today. In general, I think he plays pretty far behind the baseline and kind of lets the opponent maneuver the ball a little bit. He’s a great defender, makes a lot of balls, and is very quick. I usually feel pretty good when I’m hitting a lot of forehands, especially from the left side of the court, and able to move the ball around and dictate play. I was able to do that today fortunately.”
This marks the first time that Nadal and Sock will cross paths on the professional tour and could be considered a mild litmus test for Nadal to determine whether he is indeed on a rapid return to form, or if he simply has not met the correct level of competition yet.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Four Sets