Crowd favourite Dustin Brown has won the first men's grass court title of the year as he overcame Yen-Hsun Lu 7-6, 6-1 to take the Aegon Manchester Trophy.
Brown, who has been in scintillating form all tournament, faced his doubles partner on another glorious day at the Northern Club in Manchester.
Unlike Roland Garros and perhaps slightly unusually for Manchester, the tournament enjoyed a full week of sunshine with not a single rain delay. Despite a slow start Brown fought back to win a close tie-breaker 7-5 and take the first set in front of a sell out-crowd including Coronation Street actor Mikey North who plays Gary Windass in the popular ITV soap. The 31 year old was then dominant in the second set, playing some aggressive tennis with some outrageous backhand returns and an attacking short game. The dreadlocked German stormed to a 5-1 lead before seeing out the set and the match to take the title.
“Coming here when I saw the draw I didn’t really expect this. All the guys are very good grass court players, especially in my section. A lot of times during matches I think the key part was just to stay calm and keep playing, it could have gone the other way a few times. During the week I often found myself a few games down or broken early so today I just kept telling myself that I’m playing well, I stayed calm and kept playing my own game and that’s what I did.
“Obviously after a week like I’ve just had I’m very excited and happy. I came here with the goal to get a lot of matches and confidence before playing the other grass court events and obviously with this now I’m taking a lot of backwind into the next events. I’m feeling very good and I’ll hopefully have another good week in Surbiton,” said Brown.
Brown captured plenty of new fans during the tournament and explained how he had found being in Manchester: “Tonight’s the first night I’ll be able to stay out past dinner! Everyone has been really nice, Naomi (Broady) has taken me out for food and just made sure I had everything I needed so it’s been really good," concluded Brown.
The men’s doubles final was won in a tie-break by Indian pair Purav Raja and Divij 6-3, 3-6 (11-9).
“We always love playing on the grass so it feels amazing to have won here. You don’t usually get these sized crowds for Challenger events so we’ve enjoyed playing in Manchester,” commented the pair.