20-year-old Californian Jenson Brooksby became the youngest American to reach the fourth round of the US Open since Andy Roddick after a pulsating match against the 21st seed Aslan Karatsev out on “The Pit,” Court 17. The match was settled after three hours and fifty minutes of hard-hitting, exhausting tennis with the score of 6-2 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-3.
Jenson Brooksby vs Aslan Karatsev
Starting Well Then Finding Trouble
After the opening set it seemed fairly likely that the American was going to enjoy a routine victory. Despite his unusual technique, honed by his local coach in Sacramento, Brooksby roared into an early lead and consolidated that into a 6-2 opening set win. However, despite taking early breaks in sets two and three, he lost both.
Karatsev had a huge part to play in this match. His shotmaking off both wings looked unstoppable at times. Indeed, the Russian won five games in a row to take the second set, and then six in a row in winning the third. The Australian Open semifinalist looked the far more likely winner at that stage when Brooksby decided to leave the court for a bathroom break.
The bathroom break has become something of a controversial point in this US Open. The amount of time it took Brooksby to decide to take this break may be a talking point. It certainly served to break the momentum of the Russian, though, as the fourth set started steadily for both players, sharing the opening six games.
Brooksby Stays Strong As Karatsev Loses His Game
The Russian, however, seemed to suffer from something of a lack of focus. The unforced error count began to rise dramatically from Karatsev’s racket and Brooksby showed his physical and mental fortitude at this stage. Two breaks of serve to round out the set ended up being crucial for the youngster as he was able to open the final set on his own serve.
Brooksby avoided getting broken, indeed avoided any break points at all, in the final set. The American was able to chase down so much and keep the ball in court so often that it drew the errors from Karatsev. By this stage as well the crowd had swelled to a great size, the majority of which were cheering wildly for the home player. Brooksby was able to feed off this energy whilst it simultaneously seemed to make the Russian shrink. This is what we missed last year.
Jenson Brooksby Emulates Andy Roddick from 2001
As another set of errors, forced and unforced, rained down from the racket of the Russian, Brooksby wrapped up the match to raucous scenes. The 20-year-old now marches into the fourth round, just as a 20-year-old Andy Roddick did in 2001. Brooksby by no means carries the weapons that Roddick did in terms of a big serve and forehand, but what he does share with the former World #1 is a real tenacity and will to win. Brooksby’s tennis IQ and court craft are excellent and finds a way to stay in points. If he can develop a way to find some cheap points over the next couple of years he could reach a high ranking.
However, the next step on the American’s journey takes him to a main show court and to Novak Djokovic. He will surely fancy his own chances of being the man to end the Serbian’s Grand Slam dreams, but few others will. His game is rather similar to the World #1’s, and usually in that case Djokovic proves that he can do it just that bit better. For now, though, Jenson Brooksby will sleep well, proud to be into the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time.
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