Last Updated: January 19, 2023, 12:02 IST
Second seed Casper Ruud was sent packing from the Australian Open second round Thursday and with it his dream of becoming world number one, losing to hard-hitting American Jenson Brooksby.
The Norwegian, who took a medical timeout after the second set, succumbed 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2 to the 39th-ranked player on Rod Laver Arena.
His early exit left the tournament without its top two seeds in week one after Nadal’s shock loss on the same court Wednesday to another American in Mackenzie McDonald.
It opens the door to Novak Djokovic winning a 10th Melbourne title and temporarily derails Ruud’s dreams of becoming world number one.
Brooksby is ranked 39th and making his Australian Open debut.
“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.”
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.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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