Opelka beats Brooksby in 2 sets to win inaugural Dallas Open

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DALLAS — Reilly Opelka won his third ATP Tour title, beating Jenson Brooksby in straight sets in an all-American final at the inaugural Dallas Open.

The second-seeded Opelka won all 46 service games during the tournament and faced just one break point, which came in the second set of his 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) victory over Brooksby.

Opelka, ranked 23rd, added to his titles in New York in 2019 and Delray Beach a year later. The 24-year-old is the first American to win a third ATP Tour title since Jack Sock won his third at Delray Beach in 2017.

“It’s always nice to lift a trophy,” Opelka said. “It doesn’t happen so often, at least for me, so I’m going to enjoy it.”

Brooksby, a 21-year-old trying to build on a breakout 2021 season that included a run to the fourth round at the U.S. Open, was seeking his first title in his second final. He was the fourth seed.

The 6-foot-11 Opelka’s powerful serve produced 16 aces to two for Brooksby, putting Opelka at 100 aces for the tournament.

“It was a tight match,” Brooksby said. “Couple of breakers, I think that one could have gone either way as well.”

Opelka’s victory in the second meeting between the young Americans could put him back in the top 20. His career-best ranking is 19.

Brooksby, who missed all of 2020 with a toe injury, has reached the final in two of his 10 ATP Tour events and went 47-12 with three titles at the Challenger level last year.

At the U.S. Open last year, Brooksby became the youngest American to reach the fourth round since Andy Roddick in 2002 before losing to Novak Djokovic.

Brooksby, playing with a career-best No. 54 ranking, is on track to get into the top 50 for the first time.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.