Australian Open 2023 Results: Instant Reactions to Thursday's Winners and Losers
Tennis players from the United States had a banner day at the 2023 Australian Open, with five American men producing victories on Thursday in Melbourne.
Jenson Brooksby delivered the best result of them all when he took down No. 2 seed Casper Ruud in four sets, 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-2.
Michael Mmoh earned the other high-profile upset by an American man as he hit back after losing the first set to No. 12 seed Alexander Zverev and won 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Tommy Paul took out 30th-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, J.J. Wolf beat No. 23 seed Diego Schwartzman in straight sets, and Ben Shelton won an unseeded battle.
Taylor Fritz, the highest-seeded American in the tournament, was not immune to the upsets that riddled the men's singles draw on Thursday after he was defeated by Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Only six of the 16 seeded players who were drawn in the bottom half of the men's singles draw are still in the tournament. That should make for some great stories to emerge over the next few days in Melbourne.
No. 4 seed Novak Djokovic came through his second-round match against Enzo Couacaud with relative ease, and Thursday's results cleared a stress-free path for him to reach the final.
Upsets also dominated the headlines on the women's singles side. No. 2 seed Ons Jabeur crashed out of the tournament with a 1-6, 7-5, 1-6 loss to Marketa Vondrousova in the final match of the day.
The Tunisian was one of two top-10 women's seeds to lose on Thursday. The other upset was by an American, with Katie Volynets taking out ninth-seeded Veronika Kudermetova.
Jabeur's exit has opened up the draw for Caroline Garcia or Aryna Sabalenka, who are the highest-seeded players left in that part of the draw.
Jenson Brooksby def. No. 2 Casper Ruud, 6-3, 7-5 6-7 (4), 6-2
No. 4 Novak Djokovic def. Enzo Couacaud, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0
No. 5 Andrey Rublev def. Emil Ruusuvuori, 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-3
Alexei Popyrin def. No. 8 Taylor Fritz, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-2
No. 9 Holger Rune def. Maxime Cressy, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
Michael Mmoh def. No. 12 Alexander Zverev, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-3 6-2
Benjamin Bonzi def. No. 14 Pablo Carreno Busta, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1, 7-6 (4)
No. 22 Alex de Minaur def. Adrian Mannarino, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
J.J. Wolf def. No. 23 Diego Schwartzman, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
No. 24 Roberto Batista Agut def. Brandon Holt, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
No. 25 Dan Evans def. Jeremy Chardy, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1
No. 27 Grigor Dimitrov def. Laslo Djere, 6-3, 6-2, 6-0
Tommy Paul def. No. 30 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 6-2, 2-6, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4
Marketa Vondrousova def. No. 2 Ons Jabeur, 6-1, 5-7, 6-1
No. 4 Caroline Garcia def. Leylah Fernandez, 7-6 (5), 7-5
No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka def. Shelby Rogers, 6-3, 6-1
Katie Volynets def. No. 9 Veronika Kudermetova, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
No. 12 Belinda Bencic def. Claire Liu, 7-6 (3), 6-3
Magda Linette def. No. 16 Anett Kontaveit, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Donna Vekic def. No. 18 Liudmila Samsonova, 6-3, 6-0
No. 19 Ekaterina Alexandrova def. Taylor Townsend, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3
No. 23 Shuai Zhang def. Petra Martic, 6-3, 6-3
No. 26 Elise Mertens def. Lauren Davis, 6-4, 6-3
Laura Siegemund def. No. 27 Irina-Camelia Begu, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3
No. 30 Karolina Pliskova def. Yulia Putintseva, 6-0, 7-5
American Men Cause Upsets
Thursday was one of the biggest days in recent Grand Slam history for American men.
Jenson Brooksby's four-set win over Casper Ruud stole the headlines, and rightfully so, since the 22-year-old has only made it to the fourth round of a major once, while his opponent was a two-time Grand Slam finalist in 2022.
Ruud's loss extended a brutal run of form in Melbourne for the Norwegian player. He has three exits in the first and second rounds over his last four appearances in the Australian Open's main draw.
The 24-year-old was susceptible to an upset because of his form in Melbourne.
Alexander Zverev, meanwhile, is still on the mend from the ankle injury he suffered last summer so his loss wasn't such a major surprise.
Michael Mmoh took advantage of the German not being at full fitness to capture a four-set win to book his first ticket to the third round in Australia.
J.J. Wolf, Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton are all also at the furthest stage they have been in Australia.
In total, eight American men are entered into the third round. According to Christopher Clarey of the New York Times, it is the first time since 1996 that number of U.S. men has reached the third round of the Australian Open.
Frances Tiafoe and Sebastian Korda are the only seeded U.S. players left in the draw. Mackenzie McDonald, who beat top seed Rafael Nadal on Wednesday, is the unseeded American in the top half of the draw.
At least two Americans will be in the fourth round. Paul and Brooksby play each other, as do Mmoh and Wolf.
The number of upsets in Melbourne should ensure there will be some unexpected players in the second week of the tournament.
As great as the day was for the Americans, it was even better for Novak Djokovic.
The eliminations of Ruud, Zverev and Fritz mean that the Serb will only face one top 10 seed on his way to the final. Andrey Rublev and Holger Rune, the Nos. 5 and 9 seeds, respectively, will play each other before they face Djokovic.
Ons Jabeur Upset in Stunning Fashion
Ons Jabeur was the final big name added to the list of eliminated players on Thursday.
The two-time Grand Slam finalist in 2022 made a ton of mistakes in her second-round loss to Marketa Vondrousova.
Jabeur won a single game in each of the two sets claimed by her opponent. She battled to win the second set, but the errors cost her in the deciding third set.
The Tunisian committed 50 unforced errors, which was more than double the total produced by Vondrousova.
The No. 2 seed was not expected to lose in the first week after recording runner-up positions at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2022.
The 28-year-old's defeat opens up more hope for her top rivals to make a run to the final out of the bottom half of the bracket.
Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka are perfect through two rounds, although the former has the easier path to the final since she is the only top 16 seed left in her quarter of the women's draw.
The upset win by Katie Volynets over ninth-seeded Veronika Kudermetova was a huge boost to Garcia's title hopes. The American is one of four unseeded players still alive in that quarter.
The 21-year-old Californian is making her first-ever appearance in the third round of a Grand Slam. She did not even make it into the main draw at the last two majors of 2022.
Sabalenka needs to get through Elise Mertens and Belinda Bencic just to reach the quarterfinals.
Whoever of that trio who emerges from the next two rounds will be heavily favored to reach the semifinals. There are four unseeded players still in the part of the bracket vacated by Jabeur.
The winner in the bottom half of the bracket is likely to face Iga Świątek in the final. The Pole is the clear-cut favorite in the women's singles tournament, much like Djokovic on the men's side.