Thursday, August 5, 2021

Brooksby upsets No. 15 Auger-Aliassime; Mertens wins

Jenson Brooksby is approaching the top 100 just over
seven months after turning pro. 2021 photo courtesy
   Jenson Brooksby continued his meteoric rise today, ousting Felix Auger-Aliassime, seeded second and ranked 15th, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.
   Brooksby, a wild card from Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area playing in his first ATP 500 tournament, dominated Auger-Aliassime on the baseline and confounded the Canadian with deft drop shots in a matchup of 20-year-olds.
   Auger-Aliassime defeated Roger Federer en route to the semifinals on grass in Halle, Germany, in June and reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon last month.
   Brooksby turned pro in late December and advanced to the final of the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, R.I., last month in the first grass-court tournament of his life. He will rise at least 15 places to a career-high No. 115 after this week.
   Brooksby is scheduled to play No. 11 seed John Millman of Australia on Friday at 11 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). Millman, ranked No. 43, beat 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Reilly Opelka of Delray Beach, Fla., 6-3, 7-6 (4).
   Millman stunned Federer to reach the quarterfinals of the 2018 U.S. Open and won Northern California Challengers in 2010 and 2015.
   Also today, No. 14 seed Lloyd Harris of South Africa stunned top-seeded Rafael Nadal 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Harris won the 2018 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger.
   Mackenzie McDonald, a 26-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, defeated Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 6-4, 6-4 in their third meeting since late April.
   McDonald beat reigning champion Nick Kyrgios and No. 13 seed Benoit Paire of France in the first two  rounds. Ivashka knocked off No. 4 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the second round.
   Ivashka, 27, defeated McDonald in two European clay-court tournaments in the spring. 
   WTA Tour in San Jose, Calif. — Top-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium outlasted Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the second round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State University.
   In her first quarterfinal in her last seven tournaments, Mertens will play eighth-seeded Yulia Putintseva, a Moscow native who represents Kazakhstan.
   Putintseva, a three-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, eliminated Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Tomljanovic reached her first major quarterfinal at Wimbledon last month and the final of the last (2017) Sacramento Challenger.
   Second-seeded Elena Rybakina, another Moscow native who plays for Kazakhstan, topped Claire Liu, a 21-year-old wild card from Thousand Oaks in the Los Angeles region, 2-6, 6-0, 6-2. Rybakina advanced to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in this year's French Open.
No. 7 seed Danielle Collins, above, beat Sloane Stephens, below, in three sets
to reach the quarterfinals in San Jose, Calif. Photos by Mal Taam
   In tonight's featured match (Tennis Channel), seventh-seeded Danielle Collins of St. Petersburg, Fla., defeated Sloane Stephens, a 28-year-old product of Fresno, Calif., 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
   Collins has won her last seven matches, including her first career WTA title two weeks ago on clay in Palermo. Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion and 2018 French Open runner-up, played in her first tournament in Northern California in nine years.
   Mertens and Collins reached the semifinals of the inaugural (2018) Silicon Valley Classic but did not play each other.
   Here is Friday's schedule.
   WTA Tour in Cluj-Napoca, Romania — Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) became the first Eygptian to reach a WTA quarterfinal, dismissing wild card Alexandra Eala, a 16-year-old left-hander from the Philippines, 6-2, 6-2 on clay.
   Sherif also advanced to the doubles semifinals, teaming with Katarzyna Piter of Poland to beat Katarzyna Kawa of Poland and Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4.

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