Thursday, September 2, 2021

Brooksby frustrates Fritz to reach third round of Open

Jenson Brooksby needed more than four hours to subdue fellow
Californian Taylor Fritz today. 2021 photo courtesy of USTA
   Jenson Brooksby reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time today, gutting out a victory over fellow Californian Taylor Fritz.
   Brooksby, a 20-year-old wild card from Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, outlasted Fritz, 23, of Rancho Palos Verdes in the Los Angeles region, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (10), 7-5, 6-2 in 4 hours, 6 minutes in the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Brooksby converted his seventh match point. 
   Less than nine months after turning pro, Brooksby will rise at least 11 places to a career-high No. 88 after the U.S. Open.
   Fritz will improve five spots to No. 37, 13 notches off his career high in March 2020. He won Northern California Challengers in Sacramento and Fairfield in consecutive weeks in 2015 at 17. 
   Brooksby is set to face No. 21 seed Aslan Karatsev of Russia on Saturday. The 27-year-old Karatsev, ranked 25th, saved two match points in a 3-6, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9), 6-1 victory over Jordan Thompson of Australia. The match lasted 4 hours, 40 minutes.
   Karatsev defeated Brooksby 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the French Open in May in their only previous meeting. The winner of the rematch likely will play top-ranked Novak Djokovic, seeking to become the first man to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969, for a quarterfinal berth.
   In the Australian Open in February, the 114th-ranked Karatsev became the first player in the Open Era to reach the semifinals in his Grand Slam main-draw debut, the first qualifier to advance to a major semifinal since Vladimir Voltchkov at Wimbledon in 2000 and the lowest-ranked Grand Slam semifinalist since No. 125 Goran Ivanisevic at Wimbledon in 2001.
   Also today, 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori, 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 2-6, 6-3 outlasted Mackenzie McDonald, a 26-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, in 3:57 in a matchup of undersized veterans.
   Nishikori, 31, served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but was broken at love. He avenged a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 loss to McDonald four weeks ago in the Washington semifinals to earn a meeting with Djokovic.
   In a late match, No. 4 seed Karolina Pliskova, the runner-up in the 2016 U.S. Open and 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, edged 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova 7-5, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7) in 2:21.
   Anisimova, who won her first professional title in the last (2017) Sacramento Challenger and reached the semifinals of the 2019 French Open, had a match point at 7-6 in the third-set tiebreaker.   
   In the first round of doubles:
   —No. 3 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara (a Bay Area native) of Japan dismissed Americans Madison Brengle and Claire Liu 6-2, 6-3. Brengle won NorCal Challenger singles titles in 2018 and 2019 and reached a NorCal singles final in 2013.
   —Leylah Fernandez of Canada and Erin Routliffe of New Zealand beat Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and Giuliana Olmos, a Bay Area product who represents Mexico, 6-4, 6-2.
   —No. 11 seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14) of Japan topped U.S. wild cards Mitchell Krueger and Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (5). Mmoh won the singles crown in the 2018 Tiburon Challenger in the Bay Area.

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