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Brooksby Stays Red Hot, Advances to Citi Open ATP Tennis Semifinals Against Sinner

WASHINGTON, USA – August 6: Jenson Brooksby of United States at the Citi Open Tennis Tournament at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center on August 6, 2021 in Washington, USA (Photo by Peter Staples)

By Ricky Dimon

For American men’s tennis, 2021 may be remembered as the year in which the next great generation came of age.

Obviously there is a long way to go before that could become a reality, but Sebastian Korda, Brandon Nakashima, and Jenson Brooksby are making it a possibility.

Korda has been the leader of that pack dating back to a fourth-round run at the 2020 French Open. He also won his first career ATP title on the red clay of Parma this spring. Nakashima has been on fire of late, with back-to-back runner-up performances in Los Cabos and Atlanta. Brooksby dominated the Challenger circuit earlier this year and then reached the Newport final (lost to Kevin Anderson). All three players reached at least the third round of the Citi Open, and now Brooksby finds himself in the semis.

The 20-year-old cruised past John Millman 6-1, 6-2 in just one hour and seven minutes on Friday afternoon in Washington, D.C. Brooksby struck three aces without double-faulting, won 88 percent of his first-serve points, and saved the only break point he faced.

”He is going to make you work hard, but I know I am physical and I started really strongly in the first set,” the world No. 130 assessed. “I sort of lost focus at times in the second set but that is part of it. I was still able to stay positive throughout.

“Starting strong is my mentality. It means the preparation up to [the match] is good. What I need to work on the most is when it gets later on in matches. It was harder today (with the heat), but I am in good shape.”

Up next for Brooksby on Saturday is a semifinal showdown against Jannik Sinner. The 20-year-old Italian booked his spot on the weekend by beating Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-2. Sinner also defeated Johnson in the Atlanta doubles final last week.

WASHINGTON, USA – August 6: Jannik Sinner of Italy at the Citi Open Tennis Tournament at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center on August 6, 2021 in Washington, USA (Photo by Peter Staples)

“It is not easy (against Johnson),” Sinner said. “You have to find the right balance on court. I tried to move him earlier than he moved me, and I think that was the key today. I tried to get further forward and push him back and make him change something.

“He is a huge server, so if you return in the same way he can get used to it; you need to change it up. I think I have done that today quite well and my serve today was better.”

Sinner may need a similar performance–or perhaps even better–to beat a red-hot Brooksby.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.