Friday, August 23, 2019

Brooksby, Gibbs advance to main draw in U.S. Open

Jenson Brooksby, 18, of Carmichael in the Sacramento area qualified for
the U.S. Open after receiving a wild card last year in Flushing Meadows
as the USTA boys 18 national champion. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Jenson Brooksby received a main-draw berth in last year's U.S. Open by defeating fellow juniors.
   The 18-year-old Sacramento-area resident earned a spot this year by beating the big boys.
   Brooksby, a wild card from Carmichael, topped unseeded Pedro Martinez, 22, of Spain 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 today in the final round of qualifying in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Also, 24th-seeded Nicole Gibbs (Stanford, 2011-13) lost to 33-year-old Peng Shuai of China 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 but advanced to the main draw as a lucky loser.
   Gibbs is playing in her fourth tournament since undergoing surgery for a rare cancer in the roof of her mouth on May 17 in Los Angeles. She reached the final of the $60,000 Honolulu Challenger, lost in the first round of qualifying in Toronto on the WTA tour and fell in the opening round of the $100,000 Vancouver Challenger.
   Martinez, ranked No. 152, was the second top-200 player Brooksby, ranked No. 393, has beaten in three days and third overall. Brooksby knocked off No. 134 Yuichi Sugita of Japan on Thursday and No. 163 Marc Polmans of Australia on clay in April.
   Brooksby is scheduled to face unseeded Tomas Berdych, a 33-year-old Czech who has been sidelined with a back injury for most of the past 14 months, on Monday. The 2010 Wimbledon runner-up has tumbled from a career-high No. 4 in 2015 to No. 101.
   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 the first round in sweltering weather but advanced to the boys semifinals 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.
   Brooksby, who plans to enroll at Baylor in January, could have entered Kalamazoo again this year but told reporters he felt he "was ready to qualify" in the U.S. Open.
   Men's qualifiers also included Dominik Koepfer of Germany and Egor Gerasimov of Belarus. They reached the final and semifinals, respectively, in the $81,240 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger two weeks ago.
   Koepfer, a 25-year-old left-hander who graduated from Tulane in New Orleans, will meet Jaume Munar of Spain. Gerasimov, 26, will play South Africa's Lloyd Harris, last year's champion in the $100,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger and runner-up in Aptos.
   Peng, formerly ranked No. 14 in singles and No. 1 in doubles, began cramping in both legs while leading 5-1 in the third set against Gibbs. During a semifinal loss to Caroline Wozniacki in the 2014 U.S. Open, Peng suffered full-body cramps and left the court in a wheelchair.
   Gibbs, a 26-year-old resident of Venice in the Los Angeles area, will make her eighth consecutive appearance in the main draw of the U.S. Open. She reached the third round five years ago.
   Gibbs will face fourth-seeded Simona Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion, for the second time. Halep won 6-4, 6-1 in the first round en route to the title in Shenzhen, China, during the first week of 2018.
   Halep has lost in the first round of the U.S. Open for the past two years after having reached the quarterfinals in 2016 and semifinals in 2015.
   Here are the U.S. Open men's and women's singles draws and Monday's schedule. ESPN and ESPN2 will televise the tournament beginning Monday at 9 a.m. PDT.

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