Monday, September 6, 2021

Djokovic overcomes slow start to beat Brooksby, 20

Novak Djokovic moved one step closer to completing the first calendar-
year Grand Slam in 52 years. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   Well, it was a good start for Jenson Brooksby.
   Then reality hit.
   Top-ranked Novak Djokovic defeated Brooksby, a 20-year-old wild card from the Sacramento, Calif., suburb of Carmichael, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 tonight to reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Djokovic, who committed 10 unforced errors in the first set to Brooksby's one, moved one step closer to becoming the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to earn a calendar-year Grand Slam.
   Djokovic, 34, also aims to break the record of 20 major singles titles that he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both of whom missed the U.S. Open with injuries.
   Brooksby faced a top-10 player for the first time and played his first match in 23,771-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium, the biggest tennis facility in the world. Ranked No. 307 when he turned pro in late December, Brooksby will jump 20 places to a career-high No. 79 after the U.S. Open.
   "Brooksby is very talented and intelligent," Djokovic said in an on-court interview. "America has a bright future."
   ESPN commentator Brad Gilbert, who was born in Oakland, Calif., and grew up in nearby Piedmont, predicted that the 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Brooksby eventually will crack the top 10 and, if he develops a big serve, the top five. 
   No American men or women reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals. The top three U.S. women — Sofia Kenin (positive COVID test), Jennifer Brady (unspecified injury) and Serena Williams (hamstring injury) — missed the tournament.
   No American man has won a Grand Slam singles title since Andy Roddick in the 2003 U.S. Open, but there's hope with Brooksby, 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Reilly Opelka (24) and Sebastian Korda (21).   
   Next for Djokovic is No. 6 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in a rematch of this year's Wimbledon final, which Djokovic won in four sets. Berrettini beat qualifier Oscar Otte of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
   In the other men's quarterfinal in the top half of the draw, No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany is set to meet unseeded Lloyd Harris of South Africa.
   Zverev, last year's U.S. Open runner-up, extended his winning streak to 15 matches, including an Olympic gold medal, with a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7) victory over No. 13 seed Jannik Sinner, a 20-year-old Italian.
   Harris, who won a Northern California Challenger and reached the final of another in 2018, outplayed No. 22 seed Opelka of Delray Beach, Fla., 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. The 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Harris blasted 36 aces and Opelka 24.
   Emma Raducanu also advanced to her first major quarterfinal, as the 18-year-old qualifier from Great Britain routed Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C., 6-2, 6-1 in 66 minutes. Rogers was coming off a 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (5) win over top-ranked Ashleigh Barty.
   Raducanu is slated to face No. 11 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland on Wednesday. Bencic, the gold medalist in women's singles in the Tokyo Olympics, beat No. 7 seed Iga Swiatek, last year's French Open champion at 19, 7-6, (12), 6-3. 
   No. 4 seed Karolina Pliskova, the runner-up to Angelique Kerber in the 2016 U.S. Open and 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, is scheduled to play No. 17 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece on Wednesday.
   Sakkari, the runner-up in the inaugural (2018) Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif., outslugged No. 6 seed Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion at 19, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (6), 6-3 in a 3-hour, 30-minute battle that ended at 2:15 a.m. EDT. Andreescu had her left thigh taped during the third set.  
   Sakkari's victory ensures a first-time U.S. Open champion. 
   Women's doubles — No. 14 seeds Samantha Stosur of Australia and Zhang Shuai of China eliminated No. 3 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara (a native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area) of Japan 7-5, 7-5 in the third round. Stosur and Zhang won the 2019 Australian Open, and Stosur captured the 2005 U.S. Open with Lisa Raymond.
   Men's doubles — No. 4 seeds Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley from Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain edged No. 12 seeded Rohan Bopanna, 41, of India and Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (3) to reach the quarterfinals.
   Boys singles — Wild card Aidan Mayo, a Sacramento-area product, and Ethan Quinn of Fresno, Calif., won their first-round matches. Mayo is set to face top-seeded Shang Juncheng of China on Tuesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment