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  • The young American becoems just the fourth player in ATP rankings history to drop from the top 10 to outside the top 100 in a calendar year, without injuries.
By Daniel Rapaport
November 02, 2018

Jack Sock's 2018 has been a uniquely up and down journey. 

The 26-year-old began the year as the top-ranked American male singles player. On the strength of the biggest win of his career at last year's Paris Masters 1000, Sock entered the Australian Open as the eighth-ranked player in the world. He would suffer a disappointing first-round defeat in Melbourne to Yuichi Sugita. It was an ominous sign of losses to come. 

Despite a solid showing in Paris this year, which came to an end with his three-set quarterfinal loss to Dominic Thiem on Friday, Sock is set to drop outside of the top 100 when new rankings are released Monday. His singles record on the year stands at an abysmal 9-21, and this week was the first time he managed back-to-back victories all season. 

There are countless stats that underscore just how brutal this campaign was. Sock didn't beat a single top-25 player. He lost in the first round of three of four Slams, reaching just the second round at the U.S. Open. He lost to five players ranked outside the top 100, including world No. 316 Daniel Brands at the Nature Valley Invitational.

It is not terribly surprising, then, that Sock is set to become just the fourth man to begin a year ranked inside the top 10 and finish it outside the top 100, without suffering a significant injury. 

On the surface, it's a year to forget. And that's putting it kindly. But then there's his doubles.

Sock filled in for the injured Bob Bryan and teamed up with Mike Bryan throughout the summer, and he blossomed into one of the very best doubles players in the world. Sock and Bryan captured the Indian Wells, Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles together as Sock reached No. 2 in the doubles rankings.

Sock's mini singles resurgence in Paris—he defeated Richard Gasquet and Malek Jaziri to make the quarters—likely booked him a place in next year's Australian Open. He's projected to fall to world No. 105, which should be enough to gain him entry to the main draw and avoid the embarassing scenario of having to qualify for a tournament in which you were a top-10 seed just a year ago. 

It's hard to label a two-major year as a disappointment, even if the wins did come in doubles. The success and prize money he and Bryan earned certainly made the singles defeats a bit easier to swallow.

But Bob Bryan will eventually return from his hip surgery, and one has to think Mike will return to playing with his brother. Perhaps that will allow Sock to hone his focus on singles, where he reigned as the U.S.' top dog just 10 months, nine wins and 21 losses ago. 

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