Jack Sock and his Canadian partner Vasek Pospisil defeated Bob and Mike Bryan in the Quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Paris Masters 7-6(3) 6-3, whilst Marcelo Melo and Ivan Dodig beat Florin Mergea and Rohan Bopanna 7-5 6-7(4) 12-10 to ensure that on the penultimate day of the regular ATP World Tour season, the final doubles spot in London will still be in contention.
World Tour Finals still within reach for Pospisil and Sock
Sock and Pospisil have endured a year of mixed fortunes. Perhaps it was inevitable for 2015 to feel a little underwhelming when in the previous year the two had strung together a record-breaking 14 match winning streak as a debut pair, winning their first two tournaments; the first being Wimbledon. And although there is a precedent for debut pairs to win the Championships (cast your mind back to Jonny Marray and Frederik Nielson in 2012), the achievement of the two was truly remarkable; made all the more so by the fact that they vanquished the then 15-time grand slam champions Bob and Mike Bryan over five grueling sets in the final.
Friday in Paris, history repeated itself with a win over the Bryans. After a tight first set ended in a surprisingly comfortable tiebreak, Pospisil and Sock capitalised on the understandable disappointment of their American opponents – who may not finish top of the Race to London leaderboard after not winning a grand slam title this year, the first time they have failed to do so since 2004 – to clinically claim the second set 6-3. This victory has upheld Pospisil and Sock’s hope to qualify for the prestigious World Tour Finals at the 02 in London, which sees the culmination of the year’s top singles and doubles men’s players. The eighth and final spot can be snatched away from Mergea and Bopanna if Pospisil and Sock triumph in the Paris final, after winning their semifinal today 7-6 6-1 over Dominic Inglot and Robert Lindstedt.
Yet earlier in the year, Pospisil and Sock (or to refer to them by their portmanteau ‘Sockpisil’, as coined by the LWOS tennis department head Yesh Ginsburg earlier) clinched their first doubles Masters Title in Indian Wells, and a week later came runners-up in the Miami Masters. More recently however, the pair has been inconsistent – triumphing in the China Open (where they interestingly defeated Novak Djokovic alongside his younger brother, Djordje Djokovic) but only after suffering four first round defeats on the bounce, including the US Open.
Meanwhile in Paris though, Marcelo Melo and Ivan Dodig did Pospisil and Sock’s late surge to London another favour by defeating Mergea and Bopanna, who would have had to reach the finals of Paris to secure their spot, in a dramatic tiebreak. In the previous round, Melo and Dodig had defeated prospective suitors for the last Finals spot in Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares 6-4 3-6 10-6, ending their courtship of that vital eighth spot on the Race to London leader board.
Courtesy of these two victories then, Sockpisil’s destiny is in their control. They will face Dodig and Melo in the final and will perhaps look at Radwanska’s victory in the WTA Finals as proof that you do not need to have the greatest year, to win the end of year finals.