Seeded number 23 at this year's Australian Open, Jack Sock kicked off with a 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-3 win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert on court seven. The American will play Russian Karen Khachanov in the second round after he needed four sets to beat Adrian Mannarino.
Sock clinches lone break for a set lead
Herbert was forced to save two break points in his opening service game before holding. Sock, on the other hand, started much easier, holding to 15 with the scores tied at 1-1. In the next game, Sock pushed the Frenchman to 30-all then won the next point to create a third break point of the match. This time around the American took his chances and broke. However, he was made to work in the upcoming game, battling to save two break points en route to consolidating for 3-1. Just two games later, the Frenchman was then presented with a break back chance as Sock hit a forehand straight into the net.
A big serve out wide from the American brought the game to deuce but Herbert saw a second break point go begging with Sock holding for 4-2. The Frenchman was certainly fighting against the big-hitting 23 seed and a couple of games later was again with a break point to his name, hitting a lovely passing shot. A big first serve down the middle denied Herbert as Sock held for a 5-3 lead. Now serving for the set, the 24-year-old gained a set point, forcing the error. A good unreturnable first serve gave Sock a one set lead, 6-4.
Herbert forces tiebreak, Sock comes out on top
It was Herbert who would start the second set in good form, holding serve and applying pressure, bringing up a break point with a timely slice. The American found the net with a forehand as Herbert broke to go 0-2 up. That mini good form would vanish. Serving to consolidate the break, Herbert fired a double-fault to gift a break point opportunity. The break point would be saved with excellent serve and volleying skills. The world number 73 would go on to save two more break points in the game but wouldn't be enough with Sock's consistent pressure.
On his fourth break point, Sock eventually broke back and went on to hold serve the very next game pretty easy to level the set at 2-2. From that moment, both players found their rhythm on their serve and the Amerian held serve in the 12th game to set up a tiebreaker. With no breakthrough in the first six points, the American went ahead at 5-3 with a backhand sailing long from his opponent. A forehand in net gifted Sock with a set point. Herbert saved the first one but the American made no mistakes and sealed the set, 7-6(4).
Sock races away with the third set
The Nebraska-born held serve to love to kick the third set off. He then earned a break point racing away to a love-40 lead. Sock broke and for the second successive service games, held serve to love for a healthy 3-0 lead. Herbert eventually got on the scoreboard with a hold of serve to 15. Up 4-1, Sock hit a backhand return lob and forced the error with more break point coming his way at 30-40.
Herbert went big down the middle which paid off as break points were saved. However, the American came back at the Frenchman but a second break point was saved. The 25-year-old would go on to save a third and final break point in the game, going on to hold serve for 4-2. With the match in reach, Sock grabbed a match point at 15-40. Herbert forced Sock to hit a forehand into the net but only delayed the inevitable as the set and match were put to bed in the next point.