Remember Jack Sock, the hard-hitter from Nebraska and former American tennis prodigy? He’s still ticking.
Banished to Court 5, which seats about 1,400 fans, Sock posted a big U.S. Open upset Thursday before his new model wife. He won 7-6, 6-7, 6-4,4-6, 6-3 over 31st-seeded Alexander Bublik in a day match that ended under the cover of darkness.
Sock, once an American prodigy who has turned into more of a doubles star, had fallen to 767th in singles in February and is now only at 184th. But he still possesses a lot of game: raw power and a net skill.
Now, the 28-year-old will face the No. 2 seed, German Alexander Zverev, in the third round, likely in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Sock’s match-winning volley prompted him to fall on his back in joy. He stayed down there for 15 seconds while his new wife, Laura Little, cheered along with a loud throng at the tiny venue. Little, a 2019 Miss North Carolina and former Charlotte Hornets cheerleader, and Sock got married in December.
The big Cornhusker battled injuries in 2019 and didn’t play much during the 2020 pandemic.
“A lot of people have doubted me and counted me out a couple of years now,’’ Sock told The Post. “Your spirits get low. I’ve definitely been grinding and battling to get back. Matches like tonight make it worth it. I’m enjoying playing more than ever and cherish moments like tonight and wins like this. These moments hit home more in the second half of my career.’’
Sock played Zverev early in his career, but had not faced him in a while.
“He’s playing the best tennis of his career,’’ Sock said.
It wasn’t as happy sledding for one of the current American upstsarts, Taylor Fritz, who lost an All-American battle to wild-card Jenson Brooksby in a four-hour, five-setter.
It will be a matchup of Grand Slam champions on Friday — two women each capable of going on a deep run at the Open after each nearly lost her first match.