SAN DIEGO (AP)Former UCLA standout Marcos Giron and local favorite Brandon Nakashima won their quarterfinal matches Friday to advance in the San Diego Open ATP 250.
Nakashima, 21, continued to take advantage of home-court advantage at Barnes Stadium, where he defeated 75th-ranked Daniel Elahi Galan, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. It marked his second win over the Colombian in 2022, having also prevailed earlier this summer en route to a career-best Round-of-16 showing at Wimbledon.
”It was super difficult today. Daniel is a great player. He makes you work hard for every point, so I knew it was going to be a tough battle no matter the score,” Nakashima said. ”Luckily, I was able to hold serve in the third set and close it out.”
Nakashima’s semifinal opponent will be the surging Christopher O’Connell of Australia. O’Connell, ranked No. 130, stunned second-seeded Jenson Brooksby of Sacramento, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, to reach his first-ever ATP Tour semifinal.
”To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting too much this week. I’ve been a little bit injured,” said O’Connell, who converted just four of 17 break-point opportunities, but made up for it on the service side, smacking 14 aces and winning 77% of his first-serve points. ”I’m just free-swinging and feeling really good now.”
The 21-year-old Brooksby, playing his first tournament since falling to eventual champion and new No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain in the third round of the US Open, saw his perfect record in tour-level quarterfinals slip to 5-1.
Giron, 29, the 2014 NCAA singles champion, reached his second ATP semifinal of 2022 with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over 83rd-ranked James Duckworth of Australia. The Thousand Oaks native came into the tournament at No. 58 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, seeded for the first time in his professional career, at No. 3.
”James is a great player. He’s been Top 50 in the world. Anyone could have won this match. I’m really happy with how I mentally was able to stay in it,” said Giron, who saved two set points in the opener.
Giron has a tough task ahead of him in his semifinal opponent, second-seeded Daniel Evans. The 25th-ranked all-courter from Great Britain advanced with a 6-1, 6-3 defeat of surprise quarterfinalist Constant Lestienne of France. Giron twice lost to the 32-year-old in 2021, including a 6-4, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-2 decision in the second round of the US Open.
”He’s a great player,” Evans said of Giron. ”He really likes the American hard courts. It will be a tough match, as they all are here. He competes very well, takes the ball early and likes to be aggressive, so it’s going to be a pretty tactical match. Hopefully, I can get the better of him.”