Saturday, July 17, 2021

Brooksby, 20, tops Thompson to reach first ATP final

Jenson Brooksby practices at Arden Hills in Sacra-
mento, Calif., in 2018. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Jenson Brooksby, playing in the first grass-court tournament of his life and in his first ATP Tour main draw, today reached the final of the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, R.I.
   The 20-year-old resident of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area dismantled yet another veteran, 27-year-old Jordan Thompson of Australia, 6-3, 7-6 (3). Brooksby saved two set points in the second set, which Thompson led 5-2. 
   Thompson, at No. 71, is the highest-ranked and second top-100 player whom Brooksby has beaten. He stunned No. 98 Tomas Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up, in the first round of the 2019 U.S. Open as a qualifier.
   Thompson advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open last year and the third round at Wimbledon, ousting 12th-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway in the opening round, two weeks ago.
   Seeded first in the 2018 Stockton and Fairfield Challengers in Northern California, Thompson advanced to the semifinals and quarterfinals, respectively, in consecutive weeks.
   Brooksby improved to 32-6, including three titles in Challenger tournaments and a runner-up finish in another, since turning pro in late December. Ranked No. 310 at the beginning of 2021, he will jump at least 26 places to a career-high No. 126.
   "My guess is he'll be top 100 by the end of the year," said Tennis Channel commentator Tracy Austin, an International Tennis Hall of Famer.
   If not sooner, possibly in time to get straight into the U.S. Open, Aug. 30-Sept. 12 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. A victory over eighth-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa in Sunday's final (11:30 a.m. PDT, Tennis Channel) would put Brooksby at No. 112.
   The unseeded Brooksby, who missed Wimbledon with a right arm injury, broke for 3-1 in the first set on a mis-hit by the Thompson and held on for the set.
   Thompson broke for 4-2 in the second set on Brooksby's long forehand. Serving for the set at 5-3, Thompson lost his serve on a forehand slice get by Brooksby that a replay showed barely caught the back of the baseline.
   "The kid is a magician," commentator Noah Eagle marveled. 
   Brooksby held for 5-5, and Thompson survived a break point to hold for 6-5 as fog shrouded the court. Brooksby saved two set points to force a tiebreaker, in which he won the last four points.
   The 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Anderson, 35, outlasted top-seeded Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in 2 hours, 43 minutes.
   Bublik, serving at 5-5 in the third set, double-faulted on break point. Anderson finished with 20 aces and the 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Bublik 15.
   Anderson reached the final of the 2017 U.S. Open and at Wimbledon in 2018. He had right knee surgery in September 2019 and February 2020.
   Ranked a career-high No. 5 in 2018, Anderson has tumbled to No. 113. He will improve at least 25 notches to No. 88. 
   Bublik, a 24-year-old Russia native, won the 2017 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger
USTA NATIONAL CLAY COURT CHAMPIONSHIPS
BOYS
18-and-under
In Delray Beach, Fla.
Singles semifinals
   Ryan Colby (17), Alexandria, Va., def. Luke Casper (33), Santa Cruz, Calif.,  7-5, 6-3.
16-and-under
In Delray Beach, Fla.
Doubles semifinals
   Caden Hasler, American Fork, Utah, and Dylan Tsoi (10), El Dorado Hills, Calif., def. Owen Megargee, Washington, D.C., and Emon van Loben Sels (3), Sacramento, Calif., 5-7, 6-1 [10-7].
GIRLS
12-and-under
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Singles final
   Ciara Harding (3), Boca Raton, Fla., def. Kristina Penickova (17), Campbell, Calif., 6-4, 7-5.

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