Monday, August 26, 2019

Brooksby, 18, shocks Berdych for first tour-level win

Jenson Brooksby, an 18-year-old qualifier from the Sacramento
area, beat Tomas Berdych, formerly ranked No. 4, today in the
first round of the U.S. Open. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Jenson Brooksby said last December that he "definitely" would play at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, for at least one season.
   Now he's not so sure.
   The 18-year-old qualifier from the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael shocked 33-year-old Tomas Berdych, who reached a career-high No. 4 in 2015, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 today in the first round of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Berdych, the Wimbledon runner-up in 2010 and a U.S. Open semifinalist in 2012, has missed most of the last 14 months because of a back injury and fallen to No. 98. He has earned almost $30 million in prize money.
   Brooksby recorded his first tour-level win and victory over a top-100 player. He also became only the second qualifying wild card to win a men's main-draw match in the U.S. Open, joining Bradley Klahn. The Stanford graduate accomplished the feat in 2012.
   "I haven't decided whether I'm still going to college or not; it's still up in the air," Brooksby, who won the 2018 USTA Boys 18 National Championships to earn an automatic wild card in the U.S. Open and lost to John Millman in the opening round, told reporters. "I'll see where the rest of the tournament ends up, and also where my ranking is in the next two months. The more I win here, the more likely it could go in the other direction."
   Brooksby will soar from No. 394 to at least No. 268 after the U.S. Open. He is scheduled to face a top-20 player for the first time, Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, in the second round on Wednesday.
   Basilashvili, seeded 17th and ranked 18th, outlasted Marton Fuksovics of Hungary 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in three hours, 41 minutes.
   Unless Brooksby turns pro, he will forgo at least $100,000 for reaching the second round of the U.S. Open. On the other hand, a full scholarship at Baylor is worth $63,000 a year.
   "Yeah, it's definitely financial because I would get four years of free college if I went just for one semester compared with the money I earn here," said Brooksby, whose father, Glen, is an anesthesiologist. "You've got to figure all that out."
   Klahn dismissed Thiago Monteiro of Brazil 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in a one-hour, 47-minute matchup of left-handers. The 108th-ranked Klahn will take on seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori in a clash of 29-year-olds. Nishikori, the runner-up to Marin Cilic in the 2014 U.S. Open, beat Marco Trungelliti of Argentina 6-1, 4-1, retired.
   Sam Querrey lost in the first round of the U.S. Open for the fourth time in five years. The 31-year-old San Francisco native, a quarterfinalist in Flushing Meadows two years ago, fell to Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 7-5. Londero, 26, made his U.S. Open main-draw debut.
   Eighth-seeded Serena Williams, playing in Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first time since her tumultuous loss to Naomi Osaka in last year's final, crushed Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-1 in 59 minutes.
   Williams, a 37-year-old part-time resident of Silicon Valley, improved to 20-2 with a 19-match winning streak against Sharapova, 32, in a matchup of former world No. 1s. They are among six women to achieve a career Grand Slams in the Open era, with Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.

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