Jenson Brooksby has reached a career-high in the tour rankings, and should only rise higher.

In a second-round showdown that should have a second-week atmosphere, world No. 43 Jenson Brooksby will face world No. 26 Karen Khachanov at Indian Wells. While Khachanov received a bye in the opening round of this tournament, Brooksby is coming off of a 6-1, 6-4 win over world No. 73 Roberto Carballes Baena. Brooksby had lost his last two matches before his win over Carballes Baena, but those defeats came at the hands of Reilly Opelka and Alexander Zverev. They were both understandable, and Brooksby still managed to win a set against Zverev in Acapulco.

It's difficult to define Brooksby's unique game, and he’s even more difficult to play against. No shot is too funky for the 21-year-old Californian—look at how Novak Djokovic was rattled in his match with Brooksby at last year's US Open—and he’s a master at redirecting pace. Combine that with an elite ability to track down shots, and Brooksby is one of the better defensive players on tour. With an uncanny ability to cover the court, Brooksby doesn’t just get to balls and simply push them over the net; he tracks them down and finds ways to hit dangerous shots from anywhere—at anytime.


As hard as Khachanov hits the ball, he may be an ideal opponent for Brooksby. The Russian is going to be swinging big quite often, which can play into Brooksby's strength. If Khachanov isn't playing at high level, unforced errors will flow, and frustration can creep in. The crowd will be pulling hard for the local talent, and considering his fighter mentality, he'll generate plenty of support—another checkmark on his side of the ledger.

All things considered, this could be the type of audience that really gets in Khachanov’s head. And Brooksby is will surely have Khachanov doubting himself at the same time.

Overall, it isn’t too hard to see why the oddsmakers have tabbed Brooksby as the favorite to win this match. If he's solid in his service games, it’s hard to see him not finding a way through.

The Pick: Brooksby To Win (-125)