Alcaraz Motors Past Brooksby In New York
Carlos Alcaraz’s power proved too much for home hope Jenson Brooksby’s guile on Saturday at the US Open, where the Spaniard prevailed 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the pair’s third-round clash at the hard-court Grand Slam in New York.
After Alcaraz comfortably claimed the opening two sets on Arthur Ashe Stadium, he nullified a Brooksby surge in the early stages of the third to preserve his perfect record this fortnight. The Spaniard reeled off six games in a row to recover a double-break deficit from 0-3 and complete a two-hour, 11-minute victory during which he struck 46 winners to Brooksby’s 10.
“I played really, really well,” said Alcaraz in his on-court interview. “High level, high intensity, I knew that it was going to be a tough match. Brooksby is a really tough opponent, but I’m really happy with my performance today and I’m going to keep going.”
Alcaraz arrived in New York chasing his maiden major crown but also with the knowledge that reaching the championship match in New York could be enough to make him the youngest No. 1 in history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on September 12. Despite having so much to play for, the Spaniard has shown little sign of nerves during the first week at Flushing Meadows, where he has not dropped a set against Sebastian Baez, Federico Coria or Brooksby.
The win makes 19-year-old Alcaraz the youngest male player to reach the fourth round of the US Open in consecutive years since legendary American Pete Sampras in 1989-90. The Spaniard’s next opponent at Flushing Meadows will be 15th seed Marin Cilic.
Alcaraz had been aggressive on return from the outset in his maiden tour-level meeting with the 21-year-old Brooksby, who initially appeared happy to try and soak up the pressure from his opponent. However, the Spaniard broke through the American's defences to clinch a decisive break in the sixth game of the first set with a searing cross-court forehand winner, and he continued to overwhelm Brooksby from the baseline in a second set during which he forced three breaks of serve.
A change of approach from Brooksby at the start of the third set saw the American begin to strike the ball with more intent to manoeuvre Alcaraz around the court to greater effect. Despite the change of momentum and Brooksby breaking the Spaniard's serve twice for his 3-0 lead, however, Alcaraz raised his level once more to roar back and complete his 47th tour-level win of 2022.
“I knew that I was going to have my chances in the third set, and I knew that he was going to [lose] his level a little bit and I had to make my opportunity in the third set," said Alcaraz. "In the tough moments, in the break points, I played really, really well. I enjoyed it. I was there all the time and I made my opportunities in the third set.”
"Another second week. It's [a] fantastic achievement for me. I would say the best tournament throughout my career is here at [the] US Open. Not just from 2014, but overall. Feeling fantastic here every time I do come," Cilic said. "Today's match was a difficult battle."