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Jack Sock vs Dudi Sela BB&T Atlanta Open tennis live: Top seed Sock begins Atlanta title quest

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 27 Jul 2017
  • Jack Sock vs Dudi Sela is live from Atlanta on Thursday around 7.30pm local time (12.30am BST, Friday)
  • First meeting between the pair
Jack Sock

Jack Sock will be hoping to recapture the sort of form he produced at the start of 2017 when he launches his BB&T Atlanta Open campaign on Thursday against veteran Israeli and 2014 Atlanta runner-up Dudi Sela.





After beginning the season on fire with a pair of ATP titles and taking some notable scalps along the way, Jack Sock’s results have dried up in recent times - can the American firebrand get back to winning ways at the BB&T Atlanta Open over the next few days? The top seed at the ATP 250 tournament, Sock received a bye in the opening round and will confront the diminutive Dudi Sela in his opener on Thursday. Sela will be by no means a pushover - the Israeli is in great form, winning eight of his last nine matches at all levels, and he will be aiming to continue his run in Atlanta, where he was a finalist in 2014. Sock and Sela take to court around 7.30pm local time on Thursday night (12.30am BST, Friday).

It’s been a quiet few months on the ATP World Tour for Jack Sock, but the American has nonetheless been able to maintain a ranking inside the top 20, and with his favourite part of the season coming up, he will be looking to elevate that ranking back towards the top 10 by the time the American summer comes to an end.

The first quarter of 2017 was hugely successful for Sock. The 24-year-old began the season in winning fashion, capturing the Auckland title before the Australian Open, where he made a respectable third round exit in four sets to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Arriving back in his homeland, Sock picked up another title immediately, claiming the Delray Beach silverware after Milos Raonic withdrew with injury moments before the final.

Sock took immense confidence from his second title victory of 2017, reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells - widely regarded as the ‘fifth slam’ - conquering Grigor Dimitrov (who was in superb form at the time) and claiming his sixth top 10 victory over Kei Nishikori before running into an unstoppable Roger Federer in the final four. Sock continued his great form into the Miami Masters, reaching the quarter-finals - the fourth consecutive time he had reached that stage at Masters 1000 level - but he was once agains stopped by a resurgent legend, this time at the hands of Rafael Nadal.

Hitting a career-high ranking of No. 14 after Miami, it was looking like Sock could be challenging for a spot in the top 10 later in 2017 if he maintained that sort of form over on the clay and grass in Europe. However, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case at all. Sock won just three matches in Europe and suffered extremely disappointing exits at the slams, going down in straight sets to Jiri Vesely in the opening round of Roland Garros and then losing to qualifier and World No. 217 Sebastian Ofner in the second round of Wimbledon.

But perhaps a return to familiar surroundings in the United States will provide a change in fortunes for Sock? He’s the top seed in Atlanta this week and nothing less than playing for the title will do. The man hoping to Sock’s title quest before it begins on Thursday certainly isn’t lacking in the winning department recently.

Dudi Sela, who turned professional all the way back in 2002 and is well and truly a veteran of the tour now at 32 years of age, has been playing some great tennis as of late, winning eight of his last nine matches in all competitions and last suffering a loss in a completed match all the way back in early June at the Surbiton Challenger.

After that quarter-final exit, Sela captured the 20th Challenger title of his career (and second of 2017) in Nottingham, while he continued his marvellous form into Wimbledon, making the third round with five-set victories over Marcel Granollers and three-time Atlanta champion John Isner before being forced to retire with injury against Grigor Dimitrov.

But after a couple of weeks rest, Sela is seemingly fresh and recovered from an energy-sapping grass season, and he sailed into the second round of Atlanta on Tuesday with a dominant 7-5 6-2 victory over Konstantin Kravchuk. Sela has fond memories of the BB&T Atlanta Open after finishing runner-up in 2014 to Isner - one of just two ATP finals Sela has made in his career, with the other coming all the way back in 2008 at the China Open in Beijing, where he lost to another American in Andy Roddick.

This will be the first meeting between the pair on tour. In theory this should be a comfortable match-up for Sock. He’s younger, has far bigger weapons and can dictate on hardcourts with his forehand and serve. If he plays his best, there’s no reason why Sela should beat him. But Sock isn’t playing his best and comes into the tournament under pressure, down on confidence and lacking wins. Sela is the opposite and has done a lot of winning over the last couple of months. Sock will certainly have to be on guard on Thursday night.


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Jack Sock vs Dudi Sela BB&T Atlanta Open tennis live: Top seed Sock begins Atlanta title quest

Jack Sock will be hoping to recapture the sort of form he produced at the start of 2017 when he launches his BB&T Atlanta Open campaign on Thursday against veteran Israeli and 2014 Atlanta runner-up Dudi Sela.

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