(Photo: Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock, fine examples of communication and clarity at Wimbledon)
In the upset of the day at Wimbledon, Vasek Pospisil (CAN) & Jack Sock (USA) defeated second-seeded Alexander Peya (AUT) & Bruno Soares (BRA) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 in the gentlemen’s doubles quarterfinal. And now it’s on to the semifinal for Sock/Pospisil, where they will face fifth-seeded Leander Paes (IND) and Radek Stepanek (CZE).
The question of today’s match seemed to be, “Is the court playable, or not?” If you asked the two opposing teams, I suppose you’d get two different answers. Pospisil and Sock had no problem tearing it up on the disappearing blades of British grass, while Peya and Soares felt less confident on the surface. Still, the nearly total scoreboard symmetry reflected what an even match it was. Not overly demanding physically, in the grand scheme of a Grand Slam, but certainly both teams were tested mentally by the conditions (and the approaching end of the draw).
Two of the most exciting singles players of their generation, Sock and Pospisil fit right in at Wimbledon, not only with their explosive strokes, but also by obviously respecting the doubles game just as much as singles. For a team who have never played together before this tournament, Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock seem an almost perfect pair. Let’s face it — they look like the kind of athletes that tennis whites were invented for. This is what tennis in July in an English garden should look like; two young gents in white, slugging it out with clever angles and a sensitive touch, ready for the necessary improvisation that a successful match on grass requires, all the while maintaining cool and projecting an image that the future of tennis is just fine, thank you very much.
With the powerful hands of Jack Sock and the incredible reach of Vasek Pospisil, the two Northern Americans quickly won the first set, 6-4. In the second set, Soares complained about the increasingly dry and slick condition of the court, citing the lack of grass and expressing concerns about potential injury. With Pospisil/Sock’s zero out of eight break points converted, and Peya/Soares converting one out of one, the second set went easily to Peya/Soares, 6-3.
In the all-important third set, Peya’s serve became more effective and Sock’s returns were lighting quick, with angles that one would expect from a Wimbledon quarterfinalist. In the occasional moment when Sock might have started to come down hard on himself (the result of having executed an unforced error), Pospisil cheered Sock on and kept the team focused on winning the third set, which they did in a tie-break, 7-6 (6). From then on, the Canadian/American team had the momentum. They easily won the fourth set, 6-4. In the end, the match went to the team that persevered… the team that communicated with clarity at each phase of the game… the team that just might win the next round on the sheer adrenaline of having reached a Wimbledon semifinal. As Shakespeare wrote, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on…”
Dream big, and play bigger, gentlemen. You’re almost there.