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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday August 3 2021

Sebastian Korda

Americans Sebastian Korda and Brandon Nakashima continued to bring top-notch tennis as each made their Citi Open debut.

Photo Source: Getty

Eleven Americans are currently ranked inside the Top-100 of the ATP rankings, and six of them are aged 24 and under. Taylor Fritz (23, ranked 42), Reilly Opelka (23, ranked 36), Frances Tiafoe (23, ranked 53) and Tommy Paul (24, ranked 55) have all made significant progress over the last few seasons. If you're a fan of American men's tennis you certainly have a lot to choose from, but the best may be yet to come for the group.

Tennis Express

Enter Sebastian Korda and Brandon Nakashima, both victorious in their Citi Open debuts on Tuesday. One day, the pair could end up being No.1 and No.2 among American men, and that day doesn't seem far off.

Korda, who was ranked 213 last September when he burst onto the Grand Slam scene and reached the round of 16 on his debut, plays the Citi Open with a career-high ranking of 45. The 21-year-old, the son of former World No.2 Petr Korda and former World No.26 Regina Rajchrtova (and brother to professional golfers Jessica and Nelly), has had a breakout season on tour, compiling 22 wins against 10 losses and reaching the round of 16 at Wimbledon, where he also was making his debut.

His story is well-documented, and the attention is well-deserved.

Nakashima, a former junior World No.3 that isn't quite as well known as Korda, has risen rapidly up the rankings over the last two weeks. The 20-year-old, who enjoyed his birthday on Tuesday in D.C. as he defeated Australia’s Alexei Popyrin, 6-3, 6-3, has reached finals in each of the last two weeks on tour, at Los Cabos and Atlanta.

The San Diego native became the youngest American to reach back-to-back finals on the ATP Tour since Andy Roddick in 2001 last weekend in Atlanta - heady stuff, indeed.

Nakashima, a clever tactician with a wonderful backhand and an uncanny knack for returning big servers, has risen from 135 to 89 in the ATP rankings, and he’ll go higher next week based on his result in D.C.

Korda, who defeated Vasek Pospisil, 7-5, 6-4, on Tuesday, is blessed with some of the cleanest ball-striking on tour. He hits with vicious pop off of both wings and comports himself like a seasoned veteran.

The soft-spoken blonde with smooth strokes will face either Jannik Sinner or Emil Ruusuvuori in the third round, while Nakashima will take on Dan Evans. Both young talents still have a lot of learning to do on tour—neither has hit the 40-match mark in their career and there is plenty of room for growth.

Jenson Brooksby, Another Promising American to Look out for

Speaking of promising Americans, it looks like 20-year-old Jenson Brooksby might find himself in the Top-100 in short order as well. Brooksby, currently ranked 130, reached the final at the Hall of Fame Open this summer, losing to Kevin Anderson in a hard-fought final.

The Sacramento native started the season outside the Top-300, and has reached four challenger finals in 2021, winning three, in addition to his performance at the ATP 250 in Newport.

This week at the Citi Open Brooksby gained revenge on Anderson, defeating the two-time Grand Slam champion in straight sets, before toppling Frances Tiafoe 7-6, 7-5 on Tuesday night to reach the third round - another stunning debut by a young American at the Citi Open.

Brooksby, a scrappy competitor and a brilliant defender, plays with a chip on his shoulder and fire in his eyes. But he’s not just hungry to win, he’s also tactically sound, well-rounded, an explosive mover and ball-striker and supremely fit.

Brooksby will face Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime in the third round at D.C. – the perfect test for a promising player still very much cutting his teeth on tour.


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