Nadal knocked out of Wimbledon
Two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal made an early exit for the fourth year in a row as he was outplayed by qualifier Dustin Brown on Centre Court today.
Germany’s world number 102 won 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-4 to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the third time.
It is only the second time this year that the 30-year-old has won back-to-back matches at the top level.
Nadal, 29, has now lost in the second, first, fourth and second rounds on his past four visits to Wimbledon.
On each occasion the 14-time Grand Slam champion was beaten by a player outside the world’s top 100.
Brown, who changed nationality from Jamaican to German in 2010, now has a 2-0 record against Nadal having beaten the Spaniard on grass in Halle last year.
“You have to play your A game against him,” Brown said.
“I am fortunate I played him twice on grass, which is my favourite surface –– I wouldn’t want to play him anywhere else.
“My game makes him not play his game. He doesn’t get in a rhythm.”
Brown came through three rounds of qualifying in Roehampton last week, needed four sets to win in the first round on Tuesday and played five sets of doubles on Wednesday.
Todays victory guarantees him £77,000 in prize money, and Brown will take on 22nd seed Viktor Troicki in the last 32 on Saturday.
His attacking game proved too much for tenth seed Nadal, with 13 aces, 58 winners and 89 trips to the net keeping the Spaniard on the back foot.
Twenty winners and two breaks of serve helped Brown to the first set but Nadal appeared to be taking back control with two breaks in the second.
The German was not intimidated, however, pushing hard again in the third set and grabbing the crucial break with another sortie to the net.
Nadal’s once fearsome forehand was now misfiring badly and after he found the tram lines to fall behind at the start of the fourth, it appeared only a failure of nerve could stop Brown.
That almost came to pass when he missed a first match point by leaving a tantalising volley, only to see the ball drop inside the baseline, and Nadal then fired down an ace on the second.
It was left to Brown to serve out for the win of his life and he cancelled out an opening double fault with yet another serve-volley, and moments later smacked an ace to seal victory.
Manwhile Roger Federer accelerated into Wimbledon’s last 32 with a commanding 6-4 6-2 6-2 win over Sam Querrey.
Federer, 33, is going for a record eighth title and the second seed took just one hour 25 minutes to sweep past the American world number 36.
The Swiss will next play Sam Groth of Australia and would meet British number one Andy Murray in the semi-finals.
The 13th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, sixth seed Tomas Berdych and 18th seed Gael Monfils are also through.
Tsonga of France beat Spaniard Albert Ramos 6-3 6-4 6-4, Berdych beat Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-1 6-4 and Monfils, also of France, was a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5 winner over compatriot Adrian Mannarin.