Nadal knocked out

For­mer Wim­ble­don champ beaten in sec­ond round by qual­i­fier from Ger­many

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY STEPHEN WIL­SON

Two-time cham­pion Rafael Nadal is mak­ing another early exit from Wim­ble­don, af­ter los­ing in the sec­ond round to a 102nd-ranked qual­i­fier who played the match of his life.

Dustin Brown, a Ger­man of Ja­maican her­itage with a clever touch, go-for-broke at­ti­tude and throw­back serve-and-volley game, beat Nadal 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 64 on Cen­tre Court on Thurs­day in by far the big­gest sur­prise of the tour­na­ment so far.

Brown, a 30-year-old jour­ney­man who had never beaten a seeded player at a Grand Slam, kept Nadal off bal­ance all match with a mix of drop-vol­leys, big serves, re­flex shots and quick­fire back­hand serve re­turns.

It's the first time Nadal has lost to a qual­i­fier at a Grand Slam, and the fourth year in a row he has lost in the early rounds at Wim­ble­don to a player ranked 100th or lower.

Nadal won Wim­ble­don in 2008 and 2010 but has barely been a fac­tor since los­ing in the 2011 fi­nal. He fell in the sec­ond round to No. 100 Lukas Rosol in 2012, first round to 135th-ranked Steve Dar­cis in 2013 and fourth round to No. 144 Nick Kyr­gios last year.

“Ob­vi­ously to­day is a bad mo­ment for me,” Nadal said. “I need to ac­cept. This kind of things, they hap­pen. ... It's a sad mo­ment for me, but life con­tin­ues. My ca­reer too. I have to keep go­ing, work­ing more than ever.”

Brown, who was born in Ger­many to a Ja­maican fa­ther and Ger­man mother, moved to Ja­maica at the age of 12. He re­turned to Europe in 2004 and trav­elled around the con­ti­nent in a camper to play tourna- ments. Brown switched na­tion­al­ity from Ja­maican to Ger­man in 2010.

Brown had played Nadal once be­fore, beat­ing the Spa­niard 6-4, 6-1 on grass in Halle, Ger­many, last year. But few peo­ple gave him much of a chance against the 14-time Grand Slam win­ner on the great­est stage in ten­nis.

“I'm play­ing the first time on Cen­tre Court,” Brown said. “It was awk­ward ac­tu­ally, I thought I was go­ing to freak out a lit­tle bit.”

Brown, who had to get through three rounds of qual­i­fy­ing just to make into the main draw, gave Nadal fits with his serve-and-volley tac­tics - some­thing rarely seen any more.

“With my game, it makes him not play his game at all,” Brown said.

AP PHOTO

Rafael Nadal of Spain re­turns a ball to Dustin Brown of Ger­many, dur­ing their sin­gles match at the All Eng­land Lawn Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships in Wim­ble­don, Lon­don, Thurs­day.

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