MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Jenson Brooksby eliminated No. 2 seed Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-2 in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday in Rod Laver Arena, meaning a pair of 20-something Californians have knocked out the top two players in the men’s bracket.
The 22-year-old Brooksby’s surprise came in the same round and on the same court that 27-year-old Mackenzie McDonald defeated No. 1 seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal on Wednesday at the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.
Brooksby is ranked 39th and making his Australian Open debut.
Ruud was the runner-up at the French Open to Nadal last June and at the U.S. Open to Carlos Alcaraz last September.
Brooksby’s unusual playing style, including his two-handed backhand volleys, and ability to track down opponent’s shots, were trouble for Ruud, who took a medical timeout after the second set.
The biggest problem for Brooksby was closing this one out. He held a trio of match points while trying to serve out the victory at 5-3 in the third set but could not cash any of them in.
After he got broken there by missing a backhand, Brooksby sat down in his changeover seat and yelled at himself: “How?! How?! God!”
Ruud, a 24-year-old Norwegian, raced through the end of that set, but Brooksby righted himself in the fourth, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Brooksby finished things off 1 hour, 15 minutes after his first chance.
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