Qualifier Dustin Brown, who defeated 2004 Wimbledon winner Lleyton Hewitt in the second round, began his Fortnight with flair. But that form soon fizzled as he lost in straight sets to the No.111 Adrian Mannarino of France.
The first set started with both players holding and in routine fashion for 2-2. But Mannarino’s passing shots begin finding the lines as the Frenchman raced to earn break points on the German’s serve. He wouldn’t be able to convert until his seventh opportunity and after Brown’s volley clipped the net and fell backward.
Although Brown had chances to break on Mannarino’s next service game, he couldn’t. Minutes later, the match was suspended due to rain with Mannarino, a winner over American John Isner in the second round due to retirement, on serve and up 4-3.
Once play resumed, the players held serve in business-like fashion, allowing Mannarino to serve for the set at 5-4. He converted on his first set point, ending a relatively routine affair that lasted just shy of 40 minutes.
To start the second set and as Brown shook his head repeatedly in disgust, the German came up with a tremendous shot that saw him sliding to the back wall of the court into a top spin lob that lofted above Mannarino’s head for a winner. Brown would battle through to deuce and ultimately win the game.
On Brown’s next serve, however, he wouldn’t be so lucky. Mannarino quickly went up 40-0 on Brown before the German came up with a big serve down break point. It wouldn’t be enough, however, as Mannarino struck a lob winner to go up 2-1. Against an obviously rattled Brown, the Frenchman continued to dominate with passing shots, going up 4-1.
Serving for the second set went without fanfare as Mannarino closed it out in 24 minutes against a dejected Brown.
The German began to show signs of life at the start of the third set however, striking an ace en route to getting on the board. A lob winner at 1-1 gave him the first lead since early in the first set as he successfully held for 2-1.
At 4-4 and with extra pressure to successfully hold and avoid giving Mannarino an opportunity to serve for the match, Brown faltered at first. A missed volley and a lob from the Italian trapped the German in a 0-30 hole. He avoided being broken however, by deft volleys and by hitting a big serve to go up 5-4. An ace from the Frenchman, meanwhile, gave him the game for 5-5.
Hitting a ball directly at Brown, Mannarino got a 15-0 lead on the German’s serve. A passing shot at 15-15 gave him the opening to take the break, which he capitalised on with a cross-court backhand winner struck from past the service box. He secured the break with a forehand cross-court winner that whizzed past Brown.
Serving for the match, Mannarino proved just as tough and dominant as in the previous two sets. On match point, the Frenchman struck an unreturnable serve for his first spot in the fourth round of a major.
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
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