Friday, April 23, 2021

Brooksby extends win streak, reaches Tallahassee semis

Jenson Brooksby lost the first five games in his victory over
 No. 8 seed Michael Mmoh today. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Unseeded Jenson Brooksby overcame a miserable start today to extend his winning streak to eight matches.
   Eighth-seeded Michael Mmoh, 23, of Bradenton, Fla., retired with a shoulder injury with Brooksby, 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area leading 1-6, 6-1, 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the $52,080 Tallahassee (Fla.) Tennis Challenger on green clay.
   Brooksby, who won last week's Orlando (Fla.) Open and ousted top-seeded Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil in the second round in Tallahassee, improved to 17-2 in Challengers this year. After turning pro in December and beginning 2021 at No. 310 in the world, he will improve at least 11 notches to a career-high No. 183 on Monday.
   Mmoh, the son of Nigerian former pro Tony Mmoh, claimed the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2018 to reach a career-high No. 96. Plagued by injuries since then, he has plunged to No. 173.
   Mmoh, who advanced to the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier in February and the quarterfinals in Orlando, won the first five games today before Brooksby returned the favor in the second set.
   Brooksby went 0-7 on break-point opportunities before finally converting to lead 2-0 in the second set. He broke serve for 2-1 and 4-1 in the third set before Mmoh abruptly retired.
   Brooksby is set to face unseeded Facundo Mena, 28, of Argentina for the first time on Saturday. The 272nd-ranked Mena, who hadn't won a match in his previous eight tournaments this year, beat unseeded Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark 6-1, 7-6 (3).
   In the other semifinal, second-seeded Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., is slated to play unseeded Bjorn Fratangelo of Orlando.
   Kudla, who lost a heartbreaker in the final of the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger in 2015, outlasted Filip Cristian Jianu, a 19-year-old Romanian qualifier, 7-6 (8), 3-6, 7-5 in 2 hours, 40 minutes. Kudla, ranked No. 117 after climbing as high as No. 53 in 2016, has won all three of his matches this week in three sets. 
   Fratangelo, who won the $100,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger in 2018, defeated Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Charlottesville, Va., 7-5, 6-4. 
   Both semifinals are scheduled for 7 a.m. PDT in an effort to beat the anticipated rain. The tournament is being streamed live.

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