Thursday, August 22, 2019

Brooksby, 18, earns milestone win in Open qualifying

Jenson Brooksby, practicing in Sacramento last
year, defeated Yuichi Sugita, ranked No. 134, on
Wednesday in the second round of U.S. Open
qualifying. Photo by Paul Bauman
   After beating the highest-ranked player of his career on Wednesday, 18-year-old Jenson Brooksby needs one more victory to make his second consecutive main-draw appearance in the U.S. Open.
   Brooksby, a wild card from the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael, eliminated Yuichi Sugita, a 30-year-old Japanese seeded 27th and ranked 134th, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) in the second round of qualifying in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Brooksby, ranked No. 393, recorded his second win over a top-200 player. He beat No. 163 Marc Polmans of Australia in the second round of a $108,320 Challenger on clay in Sarasota, Fla., in April.
   Brooksby won the USTA Boys 18 National Championships last year in Kalamazoo, Mich., to earn an automatic wild card in the U.S. Open. He lost to John Millman of Australia 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 in sweltering heat and humidity in the first round but advanced to the semifinals of the boys event in the last junior tournament of his career. Millman went on to stun five-time champion Roger Federer to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
   "It would mean even more than last year," Brooksby said on of qualifying for the U.S. Open. "Qualifying your way into the main draw here is definitely tougher than getting in through Kalamazoo."
   Brooksby is scheduled to play unseeded Pedro Martinez of Spain on Friday. Martinez, ranked No. 152, beat American Tommy Paul, seeded 10th and ranked a career-high 112th, 6-4, 6-4 in a matchup of 22-year-olds.
   Martinez qualified for the French Open this year and lost in the first round to Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland. Laaksonen, who has a Finnish mother and Swiss father, reached the doubles final in the $100,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger last October with Harri Heliovaara of Finland.
    Brooksby has won three ITF singles titles, all this year in $25,000 tournaments. Two came in consecutive weeks this summer in Champaign, Ill., and Decatur, Ill., with the loss of only one set.
   Brooksby plans to enroll at Baylor in Waco, Texas, in January. He will play for coach Brian Boland, who guided Virginia to four NCAA team titles in five years (2013-17) before becoming the USTA's head of men's player development.

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