For the fourth year in a row, two-time champion Rafael Nadal has faced an early exit from Wimbledon. The only difference this time is a qualifier and world no.102, Dustin Brown sweeping away the big Spaniard. The title winner in 2008 and 2010 and runner-up in 2006, 2007 and 2011 was beaten in the fourth round last year by Australia’s Nick Kyrgios and suffered similar humiliation in 2013 and 2012. In 2012, he lost to Lukas Rosol in the second round and had a first round exit in 2013 against Steve Darcis. But never has Nadal lost to a qualifier. Brown had never played at the Center Court until yesterday and when he did against Nadal, he was devastating in employing the old-style serve-and-volley play. It was the second time that Brown had beaten Nadal after he dismissed him at Halle last year. Amid the dramatic shock of the Center Court, no.2 seed Roger Federer, no.3 seed Andy Murray, no.6 Tomas Berdych, no. 12 Gilles Simon, no.13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and no.18 Gael Monfils progressed to the third round. Also advancing to the third round in women’s draw on fourth day were; no.2 seed Petra Kvitova, no.5 Caroline Wozniacki, no.10 Angelique Kerber, no.13 Agnieszka Radwanska and no.21 Madison Keys. The fourth day also featured a marathon-like match between Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic and Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov that just avoided the fading light and lasted for 3 hours and 23 minutes before the Croat emerged as a survivor.
In the day’s biggest upset at Wimbledon, 30-year old German qualifier Dustin Brown defeated former champion Rafael Nadal in four sets. The match had an ominous beginning for Nadal with Brown showing his intent from the first stroke. He held his opening game to love with four forceful winners and came back to display some scorching returns, when Nadal served next. But it was Nadal, who broke first to take a 2-1 lead. The German was unruffled as he used drop-shots to trouble the Spaniard and leveled the set 3-3. Dressed in a sleeveless shirt just as Nadal used to do in his younger days, Brown made his opponent run all over the court and broke him again at 5-6. But the Spaniard came back to take the second set 6-3 and it didn’t look like that he would collapse later. In the third set, Brown was back to his tricks and broke Nadal to lead 3-2. That was enough to take the set 6-4. Feeding on Nadal’s uncertainty and a rising count of his unforced errors, Brown broke the Spaniard’s service in the first game of the fourth set. After that, there was no way Nadal could come back in the match as Brown finished the winner with the score of 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Roger Federer’s match with American Sam Querrey was highlighted by a between-the-legs lob that helped him break for 5-2 in the second set. Earlier, Federer was jolted by Querrey for a while but regained his composure to take the first set at 6-4. It was easy for Federer, who finished a winner at 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 to move into the third round. Like Federer, Andy Murray had little trouble in defeating Dutchman Robin Haase 6-1, 6-1, 6-4. The 2013 champion broke Haase’s serve six times and moved to the third round. Other men’s seeds, who entered the third round were; Tomas Berdych, Gilles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils. Berdych beat Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-1, 6-4, 6-4; Simon defeated Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia 6-1, 6-1, 6-7, 6-1; Tsonga beat Spain’s Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and Monfils went past compatriot Adrian Mannarino 7-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Among women, defending champion Petra Kvitova defeated Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-2, 6-0; Caroline Wozniacki beat Czech Denisa Allertova 6-1, 7-6; Agnieszka Radwanska dismissed Australia’s Alja Tomljanovic 6-0, 6-2 and Germany’s Angelique Kerber defeated Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-2
In the day’s longest match, no.23 seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia defeated Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 11-13 to set up the fourth round clash with Tsonga. Friday is expected to be just as eventful as Thursday with matches involving Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Nick Kyrgios among others.