American men took big step forward at Indian Wells

Jenson Brooksby of the United States reacts during his win against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., on Monday, March 14, 2022.

For years, American men have been scarce in the top ranks of professional tennis. But finally, a resurgence is underway.

That much was evident Sunday when Southern California native Taylor Fritz beat Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the final at the BNP Paribas Open. Fritz, 24, became the first American man to win an ATP Masters 1000 event, the largest outside of the Slams, since John Isner won the Miami Open in 2018.

But it wasn’t just Fritz’s win over the 21-time Grand Slam champion, or his straight-sets win over seventh-ranked Andrey Rublev of Russia, that turned heads.

Tommy Paul, a 24-year-old from New Jersey, beat third-ranked Alexander Zverev of Germany. And Jenson Brooksby, a 21-year-old from the Sacramento area, beat fifth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. Reilly Opelka, a 24-year-old from Michigan, reached the Round of 16, and Nadal needed to save a pair of match points to beat Sebastian Korda, a 21-year-old from Florida.

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