Carlos Alcaraz overcomes Jensen Brooksby to advance to the fourth round of the US Open
In a US Open third-round clash between attacker and strategist, the attacker prevailed.
Carlos Alcaraz, the men’s third seed, handled Jenson Brooksby in three straight sets at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday afternoon, outlasting the unseeded American 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round of Flushing Meadows. The 19-year-old Spaniard is yet to lose a set in this tournament as he chases his first Grand Slam title.
With the victory, Alcaraz, who has been dubbed “the next Rafa Nadal”, became the youngest man to reach the fourth round of the Open in recent years since Pete Sampras did so in 1989 and 1990. Alcaraz will face Great Britain’s Dan Evans or Marin Cilic of Croatia on Monday.
Alcaraz was throwing his body in all directions for points, so much so that he appeared to deflate a pair of sneakers midway through the third set after repeatedly sliding all over the place.
“I know he’s a great athlete,” Brooksby said after the game. “He’s going to get a lot of balls back. I just think most of my disappointment came from my performance today.”
After trading the first four games of the first set, Brooksby stumbled as Alcaraz tipped the court a bit. Alcaraz eventually raced to a 5-2 lead and remained unmoved as Brooksby tried to outwit his lithe opponent – whose serve hit 133 mph as he won all five of his service games. With 17 winners compared to Brooksby’s three, Alcaraz easily won the first set and repeated the effort in the last two.
Brooksby proved to be one of the best hardcourt players last summer, but the now 21-year-old has had a difficult season on other surfaces. In the first week of this US Open, however, Brooksby took convincing wins over Dusan Lajovic of Serbia and Borna Coric of Croatia to set up his meeting with Alcaraz.
Admitting that he did not deliver on the key aspects of his game that he had been working on, Brooksby expressed frustration at his inability to rise to the challenge on such a stage. While Brooksby thought he was competing as well as he could, the Sacramento, Calif. native pointed out that he had too many lapses – especially in the third set when he got the double break.
“I think it was a solid year,” Brooksby said. “I wouldn’t say it was a great year or a bad year. Lots of building blocks, I think. Really, for success in terms of the rest of the year, it’s not ranking-based for me. I think it’s more process based and how well I can just mentally focus on what I need to work on each day. I think that will really show in the results on the court.
“Obviously I want to be able to win at least one title to start with and just consistently keep getting the good results that I know I’m capable of. But, yeah, I just have to get back to work now.