#NextGenATP American Jenson Brooksby was on the verge of defeat Friday evening at Roland Garros. Frenchman Evan Furness led their final-round qualifying match 7-6(5), 5-4 and had three match points on his serve at 40/0 to earn a spot in the main draw. But Brooksby staged a furious comeback to triumph 6-7(5), 7-6(2), 6-4 after three hours and 22 minutes and make the main draw in Paris for the first time.
“I was upset in the moment for sure, but I always fight until the last point,” Brooksby said. “Obviously that was a tough situation to be in, you don’t want to be there in general, but I kept fighting. I just tried to play my game even in those points and see what would happen and it paid off, thankfully.”
Brooksby has won three ATP Challenger Tour titles this season, and his 90.4 winning percentage through the year’s first four months is second-highest in Challenger history. All that success helped the 20-year-old against Furness.
“Definitely having won a lot of matches lately helped me get through today and believe I could come back from any deficit or whatever was going on out there,” Brooksby said. “[That] definitely played a big part in my belief today.”
When Brooksby lifted his third Challenger trophy of the season last month in Tallahassee, he did so on green clay. Before that tournament, he had not played on that surface in about two years. Roland Garros was an even bigger challenge — Brooksby had never competed on red clay.
“I think it’s just a testament to our mindset that we have,” Brooksby said. “We don’t worry about surface and things like that. I just focus on what’s in my control, which is how I’m playing [and] the intentions I have going out on the court. It’s definitely paid off. I believe that I can have a good week and I have so far.”
When Brooksby spoke to the media, he did not know that he will face 2021 breakthrough star Aslan Karatsev in the first round. But the American did not seem put off by the news.
“He’s had a very strong year for sure so far,” Brookbsy said. “I’ll be pumped and ready to go going into that one. It’s a good opportunity in the main draw. I’ll rest up today and then just prepare for the next match.”
The last time Brooksby advanced through Grand Slam qualifying, at the 2019 US Open, he beat Tomas Berdych in the main draw. The American knows that while getting this far is exciting, he has to refocus on the first round.
“[There is] no time to celebrate. [I’m] still in the tournament, there’s another match coming up,” Brooksby said. “I didn’t play my best today, and I’m just happy to have another opportunity. We’re going to go over, look at what I can improve for the next one and hopefully play better next time.”