Saturday, April 17, 2021

Brooksby, 20, frustrates Harrison to gain Orlando final

Jenson Brooksby, who turned pro in December,
reached his third Challenger singles final of the
year. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Late in the first set today, Christian "George" Harrison muttered about Jenson "Mel" Brooksby, "This guy is a freaking nightmare."
   Harrison is not the only one who feels that way.
   The highly consistent, competitive Brooksby, a 20-year-old resident of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, cooled off Harrison, a 26-year-old wild card from Bradenton, Fla., 7-5, 6-1 in the semifinals of the $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open.
   Brooksby, who turned pro in December, reached his third Challenger singles final of the year. He won the title in Potchefstroom, South Africa, in February and lost to American Bjorn "Borg" Fratangelo in the Cleveland title match last month. Harrison, who has overcome eight surgeries, fell to 17-3 this year.
   Brooksby hasn't lost a set in four matches this week. He will rise at least 17 places to a career-high No. 215 in the world on Monday.
   Unseeded, Brooksby bolted to a 5-1 lead in the first set on a humid, windy day. Harrison rallied for 5-5, but Brooksby then reeled off six consecutive games and eight of the last nine.
   Brooksby, who's especially tough on big points, converted six of 10 break-point opportunities in the match and saved five of seven break points against him. He annoyed Harrison by yelling "C'mon!" and "Let's go!" after winning key points, including on Harrison errors.
   Harrison tried everything against Brooksby, including an underhand serve at 0-2 in the second set. That didn't work, either. Two points later, Harrison smashed his racket in frustration.
   Brooksby is scheduled to face fifth-seeded Denis "The Little Engine That" Kudla of Arlington, Va., for the first time on Sunday at 8 a.m. PDT. The match will be streamed live.
   The 28-year-old Kudla, ranked No. 124, subdued unseeded Roberto "Billy The" Cid Subervi of the Dominican Republic 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. 
   In the doubles final, unseeded Mitchell "Freddy" Krueger of Dallas and Jack "Where The Hell Is My" Sock of Charlotte, N.C., edged wild cards Harrison and Dennis "Vladimir" Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 4-6, 7-5 [13-11]. Krueger and Sock led 8-4 in the match tiebreaker. They escaped two championship points and converted their fourth.   
   Sock has won three Grand Slam men's doubles titles. Krueger played in his second consecutive Orlando doubles final. He and compatriot Jackson Withrow lost to Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan in last year's title match.

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