Dustin Brown is not one to mince his words. The German with the distinctive dreadlocks tells it as it is, straight up. So if anyone had asked him at the start of the week for his prediction on how he might fare in the qualifying event he would have given the brutally honest reply “I didn’t do well in Nottingham”.
Despite his opening round defeat in the grass court challenger event last week, and a second round departure in a challenger tournament the week before, the flamboyant German produced a superb grass court performance to see off teenage No.5 seed Jiri Vesely 6-4, 7-6, (4) in one hour and 18 minutes and book a place in the final round.
Of course the Roehampton lawns are familiar territory for the 28-year-old, who resides in Montego Bay. Last year he qualified for the Wimbledon main draw winning three back to back matches here before bowing out to David Ferrer in the first round.
This afternoon the magical flair and creativity that helped him achieve that particular feat was conjured up once more in the form of deft drop shots, touch volleys and a powerful serve/volley game that helped him pick off points with ease although he was also helped by a few lucky net cords along the way.
The 19-year-old Czech, who qualified for the Roland Garros main draw this year, was by no means an easy encounter – he owns a blistering serve and equally penetrating ground strokes. But when Vesely netted a ball on the first point of the second set tiebreak there was a sense the match would go the way of Brown. On cue the German served up two aces, hurtling to a 3-0 lead and continued to mix up the game, eventually generating two match points with a winning volley. Only the one was needed.
“He’s a really good player, especially in the last couple of months he’s been playing really well,” Brown said after the match. “He was pretty confident coming into this but on the other side this is a grass court, it’s a whole different tennis. The way I was serving I felt I just had to place the next ball, I just needed to place the volleys. I played a very good tie break, the two aces after the first point, they help.”
Speaking about his delight to be back on the Roehampton turf, Brown added: “It’s nice to come back here, it’s a great feeling. This grass is definitely a lot faster than Nottingham. It’s great. I’ll just try to work on my serves, volleys and returns and try to play my game against these guys and make them play my game.”
Elsewhere, sixth seeded American Denis Kudla was pushed the three set distance by wild card Filip Peliwo but eventually prevailed 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 in one hour 30 minutes.
Other male seeds enjoyed a rather more straight forward journey into the final round. Go Soeda, (No.13) who only dropped two games in his previous match, dispatched Thailand’s Danai Udomchoke 6-3, 6-2, America Wayne Odesnik (No.4) overcame Arthur De Greef 6-1, 6-4, while his fellow countryman Tim Smyczek (No.8) defeated Mirza Basic 6-3, 7-5.