This Thursday’s round couldn’t start better for the Americans in the men’s bracket of the Australian Open, with four wins in four games. Among them, the most prominent was that of Jenson Brooksby, who surprised the Norwegian Casper Ruud with partials of 6/3, 7/5, 6/7 (4-7) and 6/2, in 3h56 of duel.
No. 2 seed Ruud joins Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the early knockouts. The top two favorites haven’t crashed together in Melbourne since 2002, with Gustavo Kuerten and Lleyton Hewitt. The Norwegian doesn’t have a great history in the competition and in his fourth appearance he only made it past the second round once.
Biggest upset of the day so far, Brooksby cracked a top 5 for just the second time and is now one victory away from matching his best Grand Slam campaign, having reached the last 16 of the 2021 US Open. Tommy Paul, another American who knocked out a favorite early on Wednesday.
The biggest win of 🇺🇸 Jenson Brooksby's career 👇@wwos • @espn • @Eurosport • @wowowtennis • #AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/9GkDDhQZM1
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2023
Paul fought a battle of 3h52 with the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 30th pre-classified, winning in five sets, with the final score of 6/2, 2/6, 6/7 (4-7), 6/3 and 6 /4. He has a historic lead against Brooksby, beating his countryman the only time they crossed paths, last year at the Cincinnati Masters 1000.
Expanding the list of top seeded North Americans is JJ Wolf, who challenged Argentine Diego Schwartzman, 23rd favourite, and won in straight sets with the final score of 6/1, 6/4 and 6/4. In the third round, he could face one more tennis player from the USA, the lucky-loser Michael Mmoh, or the German Alexander Zverev, 12th best rated in Melbourne.
The American Ben Shelton also went through the second round, who overthrew the Chilean Nicolas Jarry, coming from the qualifier, by 3 sets to 0, with partials of 7/6 (7-3), 7/6 (7-3) and 7/5. He can clash with Taylor Fritz in the next round, but for that the eighth favorite will need to confirm his condition against home guest Alexei Popyrin.
7 – Seven American men's players have already made it to the round of 32 in the Australian Open, the most to feature in this round at this grand slam since the start of this century.🔒.#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/UKTYohrnoV
— OptaAce (@OptaAce) January 19, 2023