Wednesday, July 14, 2021

NorCal's Brooksby, 20, reaches first ATP quarterfinal

Jenson Brooksby practices at Arden Hills in Sacra-
mento, Calif., in 2018. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Let's get this straight.
   Less than seven months after turning pro, 20-year-old Jenson Brooksby of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area is playing his second grass-court match ever in his first ATP Tour main draw. 
   Brooksby is facing 28-year-old American Denis Kudla today in the second round of the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, R.I. Kudla has eliminated No. 6 seed and 2018 champion Steve Johnson in the first round after reaching the third round at Wimbledon as a qualifier and losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7). In 2015, Kudla advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon and the final of the Tiburon Challenger in the San Francisco Bay Area. 
   Brooksby leads Kudla by a set and a break, but Kudla rallies to even the match at one set apiece. Brooksby breaks for 6-5 in the third set to serve for the match. He trails 0-40 but wins the next three points and converts his second match point to win 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 and reach his first ATP quarterfinal.
   This stuff just isn't done, especially by someone lacking a big serve even though he's 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters). But it's typical Brooksby, who appears to be a tennis savant.
   Kudla, at No. 104, is the second-highest-ranked player Brooksby has beaten. He toppled No. 98 Tomas Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up, in the first round of the 2019 U.S. Open as an 18-year-old qualifier. 
   Brooksby improved to 30-6 this year, including three Challenger titles, one of which came by dominating Kudla 6-3, 6-3 in Orlando, Fla., on a hardcourt. Ranked No. 310 at the beginning of 2021, Brooksby will rise at least 10 places to a career-high No. 142.
   Brooksby is scheduled to meet unseeded Peter Gojowczyk, a 31-year-old German, for the first time on Friday. Gojowczyk, ranked No. 131 after climbing to a career-high No. 39 in 2018, eliminated No. 4 seed Vasek Pospisil of Canada 6-3, 6-3. Pospisil won the Wimbledon doubles title in 2014 with Jack Sock and reached the singles final in the 2017 San Francisco Challenger.
   Gojowczyk has not lost more than three games in a set in his two matches this week.
   Also in the bottom half of the draw, Maxime Cressy, a 24-year-old Paris native who plays for the United States, ousted No. 2 seed Sam Querrey, a 33-year-old San Francisco native living in Las Vegas, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in a matchup of 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) players. Querrey reached the Newport final in 2009, losing to countryman Rajeev Ram, and the Wimbledon semifinals in 2017.
   In opening-round doubles on clay in Bastad, Sweden, No. 2 seeds Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17) of Sweden and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark beat Facundo Bagnis and Federico Coria of Argentina 6-4, 6-3.
   At Wimbledon in 2012, Nielsen and Jonathan Marray of Great Britain became the only wild cards in the tournament's 144-year history to capture the men's doubles title. In 2015, Nielsen won Northern California Challengers in Tiburon and Fairfield with Johan Brunstrom of Sweden. 
   WTA Tour — Anna Bondar and Dalma Galfi of Hungary downed No. 4 seeds Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt and Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 7-5 in the first round of the Hungarian Grand Prix on clay in Budapest.  
   In Australian Open singles in February, Sherif became the first Egyptian woman to win a main-draw match in a Grand Slam tournament.
   USTA Pro Circuit — No. 5 seed Carol Zhao (Stanford, 2014-16) of Canada defeated Sophie Chang, a native of Havre de Grace, Md., 6-4, 6-4 in the first opening round of the $25,000 Women's Hospital Classic on hardcourts in Evansville, Ind.
   Juniors — No. 1 seed Emon van Loben Sels of Sacramento, Calif., routed Dillon Beckles of Round Rock, Texas, 6-1, 6-1 in the third round of the USTA Boys 16 National Clay Court Championships in Delray Beach, Fla. No. 2 seed Mitchell Lee of Oakland, Calif., edged Aaron Sandler of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., 5-7, 7-5 [11-9].

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