Friday, October 22, 2021

Brooksby beats another major quarterfinalist in Antwerp

Jenson Brooksby serves during practice
at Indian Wells two weeks ago. Photo
by Paul Bauman
    Jenson Brooksby dismantled his second consecutive 2021 Grand Slam quarterfinalist today to reach the semifinals of the European Open, an ATP 250 tournament in Antwerp, Belgium.
    Not only that, he bageled both of them in the second set.
    The 20-year-old qualifier from the Sacramento, Calif., suburb of Carmichael, beat unseeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5, 6-0 on an indoor hardcourt in their first career meeting.
    Brooksby, playing with tape on his right (playing) arm, frustrated the 22-year-old Spaniard, who reached the last eight in the French Open in June and won the Wimbledon boys singles title in 2017, with his consistency and amazing ability to turn defense into offense.
   Brooksby led 5-2 in the first set, lost the next three games and won the last eight. Davidovich Fokina, ranked No. 44, saved four set points in the first set.
   Tennis Channel commentator Tracy Austin, an International Tennis Hall of Famer, said Brooksby's "mental toughness is incredible. On the big points, he digs in and hits closer to the line. It's really quite impressive."
    Brooksby, 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters), has not lost a set in five matches in Antwerp. He demolished Botic Van De Zandschulp, who last month became the third qualifier to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals, 6-2, 6-0 in the second round.
   Brooksby, who was ranked No. 307 when he turned pro last December, is projected to rise at least 11 places to No. 59. He will try to knock off yet another 2021 major quarterfinalist when he faces second-seeded Diego Schwartzman, who advanced to the last eight at Roland Garros (and semifinals there last fall), for the first time on Saturday not before 8:30 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel).
   The 5-foot-7 (1.70-meter), 141-pound (64-kilogram) Argentine, ranked No. 14 after climbing to a career-high No. 8 last October, beat qualifier Brandon Nakashima, 20, of San Diego 6-4, 6-2.
   In Saturday's first semifinal, top-seeded Jannik Sinner, also 20, of Italy is set to meet seventh-seeded Lloyd Harris of South Africa at 6 a.m. (Tennis Channel). Harris won one Northern California Challenger and reached the final of another.

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