The American tennis dream team of Jack Sock, 20, and James Blake, 33, continued their victory run, as they defeated the top seeded team of Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau in the Delray Beach ITC doubles finals on Sunday.
After making the finals at last week’s US National Indoor Championships in Memphis (falling to world No. 1 doubles players, Bob and Mike Bryan), the wild card doubles team of Blake and Sock blew through the draw and made it to the finals in the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships today. The match, against the tournament’s No. 1 seeds Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau, made for consecutive finals for the Blake/Sock team. But there was a different outcome this week; at the first outdoor, hard-court event of the year, the unseeded Americans won it in straight sets (6-4, 6-4).
Blake and Sock showed up on court Sunday, for only their second tournament as a doubles team… and gunning for their first title. Incidentally, the Americans played (and defeated) Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau last week in the Memphis doubles draw (3-6, 6-3, 11-9).
If American tennis is lucky, the team of Blake and Sock will continue their run. Blake has vast experience and plays a power game, and Sock provides a walloping serve, commanding forehand, with still surprising amounts of assurance and spin.
A factor in play during the match was the Delray Beach wind. At the beginning of the match, the wind at “South Florida’s City By The Sea” was only 7mph, but by the middle of the first set that seaside wind picked up to 19mph and continued to compete with the serves of all players. After a struggle in set one, in which Sock double-faulted, Sock reassessed the wind situation, rethought his first serve strategy, and suddenly it seemed as if Sock were the only player capable of serving aces. It was a moment of recalculation that gave insight to the maturity level of the rising American player.
After taking the first set comfortably, Sock and Blake took an early lead by breaking in the beginning of set two. The quality of tennis increased with each game, reminding viewers of what makes a good doubles match such a great experience. The second set featured a 16-shot rally, with forehand after forehand ricocheting between both sides, ending with Sock proving the finesse that he, indeed, also has.
In the end, Blake was the one serving for the championship point, with a serve that just might have been the strongest and most elegant of the match.
Following his best singles performance to date, after reaching the quarterfinals in Memphis last week, today’s victory brings Jack Sock his first ATP title. The first, and clearly not the last.
On to Indian Wells…