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After Zverev Win, Brown On Back Injury: 'It’s Just Something That I Have To Live With'

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2019

After Zverev Win, Brown On Back Injury: ‘It’s Just Something That I Have To Live With’

34-year-old reflects on struggles with back injury after defeating top seed Zverev

On Thursday afternoon, the Stuttgart crowd was treated to a ‘Dustin Brown moment’. At 5-6 in the second set of his second-round MercedesCup match against reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev, the 34-year-old Brown faced set point when he leapt across the court — seemingly freezing in the air mid-dive — to successfully reach a forehand volley, allowing himself to stay in the set. The World No. 170 quickly leapt back up, turned around and let out a massive roar to celebrate.

Few players would dare try such a shot. But that is the type of player Brown — who upset the top seed in three sets for his first tour-level win since the 2017 US Open and the fifth Top 10 victory of his career — is, and that’s why he’s earned countless fans throughout the world during his career. What people may not know is that just more than two years ago, he suffered a serious back injury.

At 2017 Montpellier, after defeating then-World No. 7 Marin Cilic, Brown had to retire after one game in his quarter-final against Benoit Paire due to back pain. Brown would later find out it was a herniated disc. He still is dealing with the subsequent nerve damage.

“It’s just something that I have to live with now and try to manage and try to get through it and work on it,” Brown told “There are a lot of players out there who have had injuries, had surgeries that they have to manage to try to keep on playing well. But it’s not an ankle that you tear and after six weeks or two months everything is fine again.”

Photo Credit: U.COM
The same injury forced him to withdraw in Montpellier last year while leading a match 7-6, 5-2. Former World No. 64 Brown, who owns two triumphs against Rafael Nadal, fell as low as No. 258 in the ATP Rankings last July as he struggled to find his best form.

But that makes moments like Thursday’s victory even more special. When Zverev could not put a final Brown backhand volley back into play, the qualifier dropped his racquet and pulled his shirt over his face out of joy.  

“I guess that [moment of happiness] is everything that’s going through my mind, just ending up pulling it off. I’m just happy that I’m still in the tournament, still have chances to get more points, and that I’m playing very good tennis,” Brown said. 

That moment was close to not coming to fruition. At 5-5 in the second set, Brown had a good look at a backhand volley that, if he made it, would have allowed him to serve for the match. But the veteran hit the volley into the net. It would have been easy to let the match slip from there against last week’s Roland Garros quarter-finalist. But the German did not panic.

“At that point you’re not thinking about the past. You’re thinking about the volley or certain parts in the match, but not about things that have happened,” Brown said. “I was playing the No. 5 in the world. I won the first set, had a chance there to maybe serve for it, too. But at the end of the day, either way, it’s still a positive thing, so I just tried to stay calm and kept playing, trying to wait on another chance.”

Watch Brown’s Hot Shots Against Zverev
Brown’s MUST-SEE Dive To Save Set Point
Fall Down? No Problem For Brown

Brown continued playing aggressively and without hesitation. The German stretched down to touch his toes before match point. But otherwise, based on his play, it’d be tough to tell that Brown is dealing with a back injury, especially with his athletic, high-flying game.

“You just try and find ways to manage it. I guess it took a while to figure out and I think it’s also healing and getting better and it’s maybe not as bad as it used to be,” Brown said. “It’s just a process. I try and manage it and a lot of players have things that they have to deal with with their body. It’s just part of the game.”

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Brown isn’t getting too far ahead of himself after defeating Zverev. He knows a tough challenge is ahead in #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. The 18-year-old has reached two ATP Tour finals and is pursuing his first tour-level title this week.

“It goes round by round. If I go on the court tomorrow, whoever I play, no one cares. It doesn’t make a difference if I have won against Alex. Even if I’ve won four matches, you still need to go out there and do your job that day,” Brown said. “Obviously I’ll just try to get my body ready and try to concentrate and play a good match tomorrow.”

It has not been the easiest two years for Brown, both physically and on the court. But the 34-year-old knows that on his day, especially on grass, there is no reason he can’t compete against the best players in the world. And regardless of his current ATP Ranking, Brown is focused on improving.

“You try to keep working,” Brown said. “Things get better.”

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Jarry Stuns Tsitsipas At The Libema Open

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2019

Jarry Stuns Tsitsipas At The Libema Open

Chilean earns second Top 10 win of 2019

The challenge system rewarded Nicolas Jarry a lifeline, and the Chilean took full advantage to earn one of the biggest wins of his career against No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Libema Open on Thursday.

Serving at 3-3, 30/40 in the third set, Jarry appeared to have double faulted. He challenged the call, but he had little hope. He and Tsitsipas both walked to their chairs for the changeover.

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The call, however, was overturned, and Jarry held, putting the pressure back on Tsitsipas. Greece’s #NextGenATP star, who hadn’t faced a break point since the first set, struggled with heavy winds while serving at 4-5 and double faulted twice in his final service game to give Jarry a break point, which the Chilean converted behind an aggressive return, advancing 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

“It’s a very, very good win. I’m very happy for the way that I played Stefanos, one of the best players right now. He’s so young and he’s doing great this year,” Jarry said.

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The 6’6” right-hander improved to 4-3 against Top 10 players and is picking up on the grass in ‘s-Hertogenbosch where he left off on the clay. Jarry made his second ATP Tour final last month at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open, falling to Alexander Zverev after having two match points in the final. At Roland Garros, Jarry fell in a tough first-round draw to Juan Martin del Potro.

View Jarry’s FedEx ATP Win/Loss Record

The 23-year-old Chilean will next face France’s Richard Gasquet or Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan. Their match was suspended because of rain on Thursday with Gasquet leading 6-4, 1-2.

In another upset, Frenchman Adrian Mannarino beat fourth seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. Mannarino will next face fifth seed David Goffin, the 2015 finalist, who hit 13 aces to beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 31 minutes. The Belgian took a 3-0 lead in the first set, then recovered from 1-3 down in the second set.

Elsewhere, seventh-seeded Chilean Cristian Garin completed a 7-5, 7-5 win over Robin Haase of The Netherlands in one hour and 45 minutes. The second-round encounter was carried over from Wednesday due to rain with Haase serving at 3-2, 40/0 in the second set. Garin has lifted two ATP Tour trophies this year at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship (d. Ruud) and at the BMW Open by FWU (d. Berrettini).

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Britain's Harriet Dart loses last 16 match at Nottingham

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2019

Britain’s Harriet Dart lost to Australian world number 47 Ajla Tomljanovic in the last 16 of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham.

Dart, ranked 159th in the world, lost 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-2 in her second grass-court match of the season.

The 22-year-old was broken twice in the opening set but won the tie-break before losing the second and third.

She failed to convert four break points, including two at 2-2 in the deciding set.

Maia Lumsden, the only other remaining Briton in the women’s singles, was beaten 6-3 6-1 by French world number 28 Caroline Garcia.

In the second-tier Challenger event taking place at the same venue, British number three Dan Evans beat compatriot Jack Draper 7-5 6-3 to make the last 16.

Evans, who beat Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in the Surbiton final on Sunday, will play Sweden’s Elias Ymer next. The 29-year-old, is currently ranked 70th in the world as he continues to climb the rankings following a year’s ban from the sport for taking cocaine.

  • Evans focused on the future

On Wednesday British number three Heather Watson lost 6-4 6-3 to Greece’s Maria Sakkari, ranked 82 places higher, in the first round in rainy conditions.

Compatriot Katie Swan also lost to American Bernarda Pera 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.

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Alexander Zverev & Stefanos Tsitsipas suffer shock defeats

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2019

Two-time French Open quarter-finalist Alexander Zverev suffered a shock defeat in the second round of the Stuttgart Open to compatriot and world number 170 Dustin Brown.

German Zverev lost 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 in the first grass court tournament of the season ahead of Wimbledon.

The world number five, who is yet to win a title on grass, led 5-2 in the second but was taken to a tie-break.

He missed three break points at 3-3 in the decider before Brown broke late.

Brown, 34, who famously knocked out Rafael Nadal in the second round of Wimbledon in 2015, saved 13 of 14 break points as he claimed only his fifth win over a top-10 ranked player.

Elsewhere, Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas lost 6-4 3-6 6-4 to Chilean world number 60 Nicolas Jarry in the first round in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

The world number six was playing in his first grass-court match since a dramatic fourth-round French Open exit against Swiss Stan Wawrinka in Paris.

Belgian fifth seed David Goffin comfortably beat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3 7-5 in just over an hour and a half in the Netherlands.

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Done & Dustin: Brown Topples Zverev In Stuttgart

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2019

Done & Dustin: Brown Topples Zverev In Stuttgart

German to play Auger-Aliassime in last eight

Dustin Brown continued a day of upsets at the MercedesCup on Thursday when he reached the quarter-finals with victory over top seed Alexander Zverev.

A couple hours after second seed Karen Khachanov bowed out in Stuttgart, the 34-year-old qualifier knocked out fellow German Zverev 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3 in only his second tour-level match of 2019.

“I am very, very happy,” said Brown. “I didn’t have a good grass-court swing last year and just wanted to come and play very good tennis. Stuttgart is a little bit at altitude and I think that helped my game. I’ve won three very good matches, two in qualifying and one against [John] Millman. The court played a little slower today and it was tough especially against Alex, who is a very good returner. So I had to make a lot of first serves and the break in the first set helped me to gain confidence.”

Brown recovered from 2-5 down in the second set and missed out on an opportunity to break Zverev at 5-5, when the World No. 170 hit a backhand volley into the net. He later needed to save three break points at 3-3 in the deciding set.

It was only the fourth Top 10 win of his career, and the first since February 2017 when Brown beat then No. 7-ranked Marin Cilic in the Open Sud de France second round. He also beat Rafael Nadal on grass courts at 2014 Halle and 2015 Wimbledon.

Brown, who had not recorded a tour-level win prior to this week since the 2017 US Open, now challenges seventh-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is currently second in the ATP Race To Milan for a spot at the Next Gen ATP Finals in November. Auger-Aliassime hit 15 aces to beat Gilles Simon of France 7-5, 6-4 in 90 minutes.

“I try to play match by match,” said Brown. “I try and play my own tennis, aggressive and I know that I am dangerous on this surface, particularly when I come into the net a lot. So far it’s worked very well.”

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Zverev double-faulted at 30/40 in the third game of the first set, one of his 14 double faults in the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. While Zverev took a 2-0 lead in the second set. Brown’s courtcraft at 3-5 reaped rewards, but he did not hit a first service into court in the tie-break, which ended with a forehand error.

Having saved three break points at 3-3 in the decider. Brown was inventive in the next game to get Zverev on the move. A forehand volley winner sealed a 5-3 lead and he went on to close out to 15. Brown saved 13 of 14 break points, with Zverev winning 82 per cent of his first-service points and hitting 21 winners.

Last week, both Zverev and World No. 9 Khachanov, who lost to Matteo Berrettini in Stuttgart on Thursday, reached the Roland Garros quarter-finals. Zverev, who captured the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon trophy prior to the clay-court Grand Slam championship in Paris, is now 23-12 on the season.

You May Also Like: Felix Growing In Confidence On Stuttgart Grass; Berrettini Upsets Khachanov

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Berrettini Upsets Khachanov In Stuttgart

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2019

Berrettini Upsets Khachanov In Stuttgart

Zverev to play fellow German Brown later today

Matteo Berrettini caused an upset at the MercedesCup on Thursday when he beat Karen Khachanov, one week on from the Russian competing in the Roland Garros quarter-finals.

The 22-year-old Italian recorded his second Top 10 win of the year over second seed Khachanov 6-4, 6-2 in 69 minutes. Last month at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Berrettini beat World No. 5 Alexander Zverev 7-5, 7-5 in the second round.

“I played a great match, served really well and did well with my slice,” said Berrettini. “Tomorrow will be a tough match against Denis [Kudla], as he played well today against Gael. I will have to do my best.”

Berrettini, who is now 20-12 on the season, broke Khachanov at 3-3 with terrific anticipation at the net in the first set and then in the first game of the second set when the Russian struck a forehand long of the baseline. Berrettini took a 5-2 advantage with a low forehand volley winner, then closed out the match with a 60-second service hold – finishing with a backhand drop shot winner.

Khachanov, who reached his first Grand Slam championship quarter-final last week in Paris (l. to Thiem), broke into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings on Monday at a career-high No. 9. He is now 14-14 on the season.

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Berrettini will next face American Denis Kudla, who completed the biggest win of his career over World No. 16 Gael Monfils, the ATP 250 tournament’s fifth seed, 6-5, 6-7(3), 7-6(3) in two hours and 19 minutes.

“I’ve always been comfortable on grass, and to beat Gael on any surface is a big win,” said Kudla. “Today was a really big test physically, mentally and I thought I passed it. I was up a break, but he doesn’t give you any rhythm. It’s very tough to stay focused and it came down to the wire.”

Kudla, who had led by a set and 4-2 before 2010 finalist Monfils fought back, previously recorded his best match win (according to the ATP Rankings) over No. 19-ranked Lucas Pouille 7-5, 6-7(6), 7-6(5) in August 2018 in the 2018 Citi Open third round.

Top seed Alexander Zverev, who last week advanced to the Roland Garros quarter-finals for the second consecutive year, takes on fellow German Dustin Brown later today.

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Murray Optimistic About Return To Singles Action This Season

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2019

Murray Optimistic About Return To Singles Action This Season

Former World No. 1 to play doubles next week at The Queen’s Club

Get ready to see more of Andy Murray this season. The former World No. 1, who could be spotted practising at The Queen’s Club on Wednesday ahead of his return next week at the Fever-Tree Championships, is planning on playing doubles through Wimbledon and hopes to back in singles action later this year.

“I’d like to try and play every week if I can, but I sort of want to wait and see. I feel good just now. I’ve been practising, playing doubles sets and stuff, and doing fine,” he said in an interview from The Queen’s Club. “But obviously once you get back on a match court, that’s when you can really test yourself. I’d imagine after here I’d get a better idea of where I’m at.

“Providing everything goes fine, I’ll try and play through the grass in doubles. And then after that, I won’t just finish playing doubles at Wimbledon and then [go] straight onto the singles court. I still need time to build up again and do another block of rehab and training to get myself in that position, but I’m looking forward to it.”

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The 32-year-old Scot underwent hip resurfacing surgery in late January, following a brave five-set battle against Roberto Bausista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open. Prior to the tournament, an emotional Murray had questioned whether it might be his final event, but now “pain-free”, he is hopeful of returning to singles action again.

“With the way things are progressing just now, I’m optimistic about being able to do that,” he said. “I don’t know when exactly. I’ll just keep doing the right stuff. Doubles is a middle ground between what I have been doing and getting on the singles court, so hopefully things keep progressing the right direction and maybe later this year I’ll get there.”

More On Murray
* Murray’s Fighting Spirit Shines In Emotional Melbourne Exit
* Murray Undergoes Hip Surgery In London
* Murray Set For Return At The Queen’s Club

Murray, a five-time singles champion at The Queen’s Club, will take the first step in his return when he plays alongside 2017 titlist Feliciano Lopez next week at the ATP 500 grass-court tournament.

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Watch: Freakish Net Post Ricochet At Kazakh Challenger

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2019

Watch: Freakish Net Post Ricochet At Kazakh Challenger

Evan King and Hunter Reese convert break point in the luckiest fashion in Shymkent

If you believe you’ve seen everything on a tennis court, think again.

Sometimes a stroke of luck is greatly appreciated on the ATP Challenger Tour. Look no further than what transpired on Wednesday in Shymkent, Kazakhstan.

Fourth seeds Evan King and Hunter Reese benefited from a slice of good fortune in the first set, en route to their first-round victory over Tunisians Malek Jaziri and Skander Mansouri. Leading 4-3 15/40, the Americans secured the decisive break thanks to a freakish ricochet.

When King framed a Monsouri first serve, the return hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity, before somehow descending on the net post. The ball deflected off the Tunisians’ side of the post and dropped back in. The Americans would win the point and eventually the match, but not before a 10-minute delay ensued due to the confusion.

“Possibly the weirdest point I’ve ever been a part of,” Reese posted on Instagram.

King and Reese would advance after taking the first set 6-3, when Jaziri retired due to illness. They are bidding for a third doubles title together, having won on home soil in Sarasota and Cary last year.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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