Australian Open No. 2 seed Casper Ruud was dumped out of the grand slam by American Jenson Brooksby on Thursday, beaten 6-3 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 in the second round.
Ruud, who reached the finals of the French Open and US Open in 2022, saved three match points and came back from 2-5 down in the third set to take the match to a fourth, but the 22-year-old Brooksy wasn’t to be denied.
The American’s victory means the top two seeds from the men’s draw have been knocked out after Rafael Nadal lost to Mackenzie McDonald on Wednesday .
The departure of the two top seeds prior to the third round is the first grand slam men’s singles event that has happened since the 2002 Australian Open when No. 1 seed Lleyton Hewitt and No. 2 seed Gustavo Kuerten lost in the first round, according to the International Tennis Federation.
“Casper’s a warrior, I knew it would be a great battle,” Brooksby told reporters afterwards. “I was pretty confident with my level and just wanted to have fun competing out there and see what could happen.
“I was just really proud of my mental resolve there after the third set battle didn’t go my way, to just turn it around,” added Brooksby. “I thought I was playing really strong and I just wanted every game [to] not lose my focus out there.”
Brooksby looked confident from the opening game as the world No. 39 broke Ruud midway through the first set after a long 30-shot rally which allowed the American to take an early lead.
The big-hitting American kept Ruud on the back foot, though he won the second set with a slice of luck as his backhand hit the net and trickled over.
Ruud fought back to win the third set, though his frustration continued and at one point he could be heard shouting “Why?” at himself.
Ruud lost the fourth set when a return landed long, giving Brooksby only his second ever victory over a top five seed, having beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas in the past.
The 22-year-old from California was dominant over the longer rallies against Ruud, winning 50 of the 68 points that extended over nine shots. He was also able to save eight out of the 12 break points he faced against the Norwegian.
Afterwards, Ruud was full of praise for Brooksby, whilst also saying the match was “frustrating and annoying at the same time.”
“It’s a tough matchup for me, and I know it’s going to be for many years probably. I will try to learn from it. I think that he played great today,” Ruud told reporters.
“I mean, I didn’t make many errors at all. I didn’t feel like I played particularly bad or not the level that I wanted to play, but he just ended up winning many of the longer rallies and had sort of an answer to all the questions that I asked him,” added Ruud.
Brooksby will play his fellow American Tommy Paul in the next round.
“That’s going to be another battle for sure,” Brooksby said. “A lot of the Americans are doing really well right now and we’re all pushing each other. I’m just looking forward to the next one.”