American Jenson Brooksby knocked second seed Casper Ruud out of the Australian Open on Thursday with a 6-3 7-5 6-7(4) 6-2 victory, extinguishing the Norwegian’s hopes of winning a first Grand Slam title and topping the world rankings.
Two breaks of serve in the opening set of the second-round match handed Brooksby the early lead and he dictated terms in the second to raise the prospect of another big upset by a Californian after Mackenzie McDonald beat defending champion Rafa Nadal.
The 24-year-old Ruud, twice a runner-up in Grand Slams last year, saved three match points before winning the third set in a tiebreak as Brooksby began to feel the pressure but the American regained his composure in the fourth to complete the win.
“Casper’s a warrior, I knew it’d be a great battle out there. I was pretty confident with my level and just wanted to have fun out there and see what could happen,” Brooksby, 22, said in his on-court interview.
“I was really proud of my mental resolve out there after the third-set battle didn’t go my way to turn it around.
“Last year, I had COVID, the day before I was due to fly out, and that sucked. But hopefully this is the first of many years to come.”
Up next for Brooksby, who is making his Australian Open debut this year after withdrawing in 2022 due to illness, is compatriot Tommy Paul following his five-set victory over Spanish 30th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.