Preview for the San Diego Open

Credit: San Diego Open

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Credit: San Diego Open

For a second consecutive year, the San Diego Open will be held at Barnes Tennis Center from September 17-September 25.

It remains at the ATP 250 level, which is the lowest tier of annual men’s tournaments, but the quality of players appears to be slightly lower than last year. Due to the cancellation of the Asian swing, there were eight of the top 20 players in the world at the 2021 edition. This year, there are none, but that allows for San Diegans to see some of the up-and-coming talents in tennis.

Casper Ruud won the title last year, but the globally fifth-ranked Dane will not be back in Southern California to defend his title. The top-seeded player for the tournament this year is Dan Evans. Evans, who is ranked 23rd in the world, was knocked out in the second round of last year’s tournament. Evans has not won a title this year, though he plays his best on hard courts. He’s made three ATP finals, winning one, all of which have come on hard courts. He’ll be the favorite, but there is certainly plenty of talent in the rest of the draw.

Californian Jenson Brooksby will be the second seed, with the world #43 looking to pick up his first ATP title.

Brooksby is just 21, and he dazzled on the ATP and ITF Futures tours, winning six out of seven finals over the course of three years. The Futures tours serve as a sort of minor league for the main tour, where Brooksby has found a fair amount of success. He’s made three ATP finals in the past 15 months, but he’s still looking for his first win. Brooksby started 2022 outside of the top 50 in the world before moving up to a career-high ranking over 33rd in June. Brooksby, like Evans, is a hard court specialist. Six of his seven Futures finals came on hard courts, while two of the three ATP ones he made were also on hard courts.

Credit: San Diego Open

The sixth seed in the tournament is San Diegan Brandon Nakashima, who is #69 in the world. Nakashima, like Brooksby, is 21 and is considered to be one of the future stars of tennis. He went to the High Bluff Academy in San Diego before spending one semester at Virginia. He went 17-5 in singles and 20-3 in doubles for the Cavaliers, winning ACC Freshman of the Year, before turning professional.

Nakashima made a pair of ATP finals, but he’s lost both in straight sets. 2022 has been a breakout year for Nakashima, as he made it to the third round in the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. He also made it into the top 50 in the world for the first time back in July.

Another talented player in the tournament is Jiri Vesely, who will be seeded fifth in the draw. Vesely is 29, but he’s got two ATP titles, more than any other player in the tournament field. He’s made it to four finals in his career, including an ATP 500 title, which is one level higher than the San Diego Open. Just like most of the other tournament favorites, Vesely is at his best on hard courts, as they’ve been the location for three of his four ATP finals. The Czech national has spent ten years on the tennis tour, finding himself ranked 66th in the world.

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The tournament will feature a 28-player main draw, which will begin on Monday, September 19. There will be two days of qualifiers, which will send four more players to the main draw. There will also be three wild cards, with 21 of the 28 players in the main draw already set.

It’ll be an exciting tournament and a chance for Southern California to witness some underrated tennis talent, including a hometown hero.

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