By Richard Osborn
San Diego, CA–Top seed Daniel Evans of Great Britain kicked off his 2022 San Diego Open ATP 250 campaign on Thursday night with a 6-4, 6-4 win over 95th-ranked Taro Daniel of Japan at Barnes Tennis Center.
The 32-year-old Evans is through to his fourth tour-level quarterfinal of the year. The world No. 25, who was coming off an indoor Davis Cup outing in Glasgow, Scotland, is now headed for a first-time meeting with Frenchman Constant Lestienne.
“I was good behind my serve from the end of the first set to the end of the match,” said Evans. “I had good variation and played the game on my terms. That’s the biggest thing I was happy with — I played the match on my terms and made him think a lot.”
San Diegan Brandon Nakashima, 21, continues to make the most of his home-court advantage. The fifth seed, whose summer has included a Round-of-16 breakthrough at Wimbledon and a third-round showing at the US Open, is into the elite eight thanks to a 6-3, 6-4 dismissal of fellow American Denis Kudla.
The former UVA standout was especially sharp from the service stripe, landing 74 percent of his first serves (including 12 aces), and winning 80 percent of those points.
“I’m very happy with the performance today. I definitely served well,” said Nakashima. “That helped my return games a lot, helped me maybe play a little more freely off the baseline and try to convert all the breakpoints I could out there.”
Nakashima earned a head-to-head with Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan, whom he defeated this summer in the third round at Wimbledon, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1.
No. 2 seed Jenson Brooksby of Sacramento claimed an all-California showdown with Mackenzie McDonald of Piedmont, advancing to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 victory.
It marked the 21-year-old Brooksby’s second win over the former UCLA star in 2022, having also prevailed in the Round of 16 in Atlanta, 6-3, 6-4.
“He’s a good competitor. I knew it would be a good battle today,” said the 50th-ranked Brooksby, who is now 9-6 in his last 15 matches, all of which have come against Top-100 competition. “Once we split sets, I just tried to stay mentally solid, just get back to a few things in my game. I’m happy with how I was able to turn that around in the third.”
Brooksby moves on to face Australia’s Christopher O’Connell, who is into his second career ATP quarterfinal thanks to an efficient 6-3, 7-5 upset of eighth seed J.J. Wolf of the United States. The 130th-ranked O’Connell smacked seven of his 12 aces in the 43-minute first set alone and won 80 percent (32 of 40) of his first-serve points.
“I served amazing today,” said O’Connell, who turned back the only break point he faced. “It was a bit hotter, so I think that helped get my serve through the air a little bit quicker. The hotter the better for me. I was just hitting my spots.”
The former Ohio State standout Wolf, one spot below his career-high No. 72 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, had been playing some outstanding tennis on his home turf in 2022. In fact, nine of the Cincinnatian’s 10 tour-level wins on the year have come at events held in the U.S. However, he couldn’t find his rhythm against O’Connell, amassing 20 unforced errors, including four double faults.