Saturday, April 24, 2021

Brooksby, Fratangelo to meet in another Challenger final

Jenson Brooksby extended his winning streak to nine
matches and improved to 18-2 in Challengers with two
titles this year. Photo courtesy of US
   For the second time in five weeks, Jenson Brooksby and Bjorn Fratangelo will meet in a Challenger singles final.
   Brooksby, 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area outlasted Facundo Mena, 28, of Argentina 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 today in a battle of unseeded players in the $52,080 Tallahassee (Fla.) Tennis Challenger on green clay. The unseeded Fratangelo, 27, of Orlando eliminated second-seeded Denis Kudla, 28, of Arlington, Va., 7-6 (2), 6-2. 
   Both semifinals were interrupted by rain for several hours.
   Fratangelo defeated Brooksby 7-5, 6-4 in last month's Cleveland final on an indoor hardcourt for his first Challenger singles title since Fairfield, Calif., in October 2018. They are scheduled to meet for the second time on Sunday not before 10:30 a.m. PDT. The match will be streamed live.
   Brooksby, who turned pro in December, extended his winning streak to nine matches and improved to 18-2 in Challengers with two titles this year. He won last week's $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open on hardcourts.
   Fratangelo barely survived the first round, overcoming 31 aces by 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Ivo Karlovic in a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4) victory over the 42-year-old Croat. Brooksby ousted top-seeded Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil in the second round.
   Ten years ago, Fratangelo, who was named after Bjorn Borg, became the first American to win the French Open boys singles title since John McEnroe in 1977.
   Brooksby, who began the year at No. 310 in the world, will rise at least 15 places to a career-high No. 179 on Monday. Fratangelo, who climbed as high as No. 99 in 2016, will jump a minimum of 27 spots to No 194.
   Play resumed today with Mena, who hadn't won a match in his previous eight tournaments this year, serving at 5-4 in the second set. He saved two break points to even the match at one set apiece.
   In the third set, Mena broke serve for 3-2, prompting Brooksby to fling his racket in disgust and incur a warning for racket abuse. Brooksby, however, broke right back for 3-3.
   Both players then held serve until Brooksby broke in the final game on Mena's wide cross-court backhand. Mena led 40-0 in the game.
   ATP Tour — Unseeded Kevin Krawietz of Germany and Horia Tecau of Romania edged third-seeded Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley from Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain 1-6, 6-3 [11-9] in the semifinals of the Barcelona Open.
   Colleges — The top-seeded Stanford men routed eighth-seeded Washington 4-0 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Championships in San Diego. The Cardinal (10-4) is scheduled to face fifth-seeded Arizona State (15-7) on Sunday at 3 p.m. 
   The second-seeded Stanford women (14-3) are set to play third-seeded Cal (15-6) on Sunday at noon in the semifinals. The Cardinal, seeking its fifth consecutive conference title, beat eighth-seeded Washington. The Bears dominated sixth-seeded Oregon 4-1.

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