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Brooksby befuddles yet another opponent, gets Alcaraz next at U.S. Open Tennis

Jenson Brooksby of the United States celebrates a break of serve against Borna Coric of Croatia on Grandstand Stadium in the Men’s Singles second round match during the US Open Tennis Championship. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

By Ricky Dimon

In the early stages of his career, Jenson Brooksby has already made a habit of absolutely baffling opponents. It’s why he is already up to No. 43 in the world–and clearly on the rise–at 21 years old despite not wielding a ton of offensive firepower.

Although Brooksby failed to pull off the upset last summer, he ran circles around Novak Djokovic for one and a half sets during fourth-round action at Flushing Meadows. Fast forward 12 months and the American is getting more cracks at some of the best players in the world. He took down Borna Coric 6-4, 7-6(10), 6-1 in the second round on Thursday afternoon and his reward is a showdown against No. 3 seed Carlos Alcaraz.

Coric was one of the in-form players heading into New York, having triumphed at the Cincinnati Masters–where he upset Rafael Nadal in round two. Nonetheless, the 29th-ranked Croat had no answers for Brooksby and completely disappeared both mentally and physically after losing a 22-point tiebreaker in the second set.

“I think that was a really good battle today,” Brooksby assessed. “I knew it would be with an opponent like him. I was proud of my mental resolve to be able to save a lot of set points like that in a row and just stay in the present and be able to focus and commit to what I have been working on. To see that come through today is a great feeling.

“I noticed that definitely,” the Sacramento, Calif. native said when asked about Coric’s obvious frustration throughout the match. “It gives you confidence to be able to try and handle those moments better than the other opponents. That’s definitely a time…if the opponent is frustrated…I can see this is the time to stay focused and stay on him and try to break him down. Whoever that is or whatever situation that is, it’s always a good thing to see.”

Photo credit: Darren Carroll/USTA/US Open

On Friday Brooksby will try to do the same to Alcaraz, who advanced with a straight-set defeat of Federico Coria.

“It’s definitely someone I have wanted to play,” Brooksby assured. “I’m going to bring in my best. It’s going to be a good, competitive battle out there. I’m really excited to go out there, compete, and show what I can do. I think it’s going to be a great atmosphere–great crowd. You use the U.S. crowd on my side and give that energy out there. Those situations in a slam like this, it’s your home crowd; for sure it will only give me the advantage. I just want to be able to use that advantage as much as I can.

“I’m feeling very confident heading into this one.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.