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du Tuesday 29 Octobre 2019 at 19h00 au Tuesday 29 Octobre 2019 at 20h30
ROLEX PARIS MASTERS From October 31th to November 8th, 2020
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Day 7 at the RPM: Dream final for surprise contenders

A 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-6(5) winner over John Isner, Filip Krajinovic will face Jack Sock in Sunday’s Rolex Paris Masters, after the American saw off Julien Benneteau 7-5, 6-2.

There is barely a professional player who goes into a tournament without harbouring dreams of glory. Yet when dreams are dashed by bigger and better players time and time again, the game’s lesser lights can be forgiven for feeling that their stars will never align. 

Not so for Filip Krajinovic and Jack Sock at the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters, where their dreams have taken glorious shape within the confines of the AccorHotels Arena. For the rest of their careers, Paris will always be a turning point. 

This year’s RPM represents a career high for the 25-year-old Krajinovic, who, prior to this week at least, appeared to be just another bright talent with an inability to make that all-important final step. After taking up the sport at the age of nine, he went to the Bollettieri Academy in Florida to learn the ropes. The Serbian made a promising enough start to his career, doing more than just hold his own at junior level and then reaching the semis as an 18-year-old at the 2010 Serbia Open, one of his first pro tournaments. It seemed for a while that Krajinovic might chart the same course as that taken by compatriot Novak Djokovic. An operation on his right shoulder caused the youngster to miss the next two seasons, however, and when he fought his way back to fitness he found a place in the top 100 elusive. Then, in 2016, came further injury problems with his wrist and that troublesome right shoulder. A lowly 294th at the start of the 2017 campaign, Krajinovic hit a rich vein of form from July onwards, recording 40 victories out of a possible 48, a win rate of 83%.

 

Blessed with a solid all-round game and mentally strong with it, Krajinovic went into the RPM qualifying competition full of confidence. It showed on the court, as he dispatched Guido Pela and Laslo Djere to advance to the main draw. Yuichi Sugita, world No13 Sam Querrey and Nicolas Mahut were the Serbian’s next victims, while Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal handed him a semi-final date with John Isner. In beating the American, he joined Sergio Casal (1986), Radek Stepanek (2004) and Jerzy Janowicz (2012) as the only qualifiers to have reached the final of the tournament.

 

Waiting for him there is an equally ambitious Sock. Born the same year as Krajinovic, the American has nevertheless made speedier progress, having largely been spared injury. In gradually working his way up the rankings, Sock has won three ATP titles, two of them coming this year, in Auckland and Delray Beach. Now a serious contender for a place in the top ten, Sock will book a ticket to the ATP Finals in London should he triumph on Sunday.

Blessed with a devastating forehand, the American player has had his ups and downs this week. Trailing Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund 5-1 in the final set of his opening match, he reeled off six games out of seven to clinch a miraculous 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 win, all without having to save a single match point. After easing past Lucas Pouille 7-6, 6-3, the world No22 dug deep to beat Fernando Verdasco 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 before having an easier time of it against Julien Benneteau in the semi-finals, a match he won 7-5, 6-2.

The two finalists have met only once before, at a Challenger event in Savannah (USA) three years ago, with Sock edging a tight contest 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. There will be far more at stake for the two of them at the AccorHotels Arena on Sunday: the chance to fulfil a long-cherished dream.

 

 

 

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