LONDON (Reuters) - Dreadlocked German Dustin Brown was back treating Wimbledon crowds to his unique brand of swashbuckling tennis on Tuesday, winning a quickfire five-setter against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.
Serving and volleying and whipping balls out of the air as he did when stunning twice-champion Rafael Nadal in the second round 12 months ago, Brown took just two hours eight minutes to claim a 4-6 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.
It took him a while to find his range, but after a deafening fire alarm sounded across the outside courts, Brown woke up and outclassed Lajovic with some inspired shot-making.
He can be virtually guaranteed a stadium court for his second round on Thursday when he faces close friend and fellow maverick Nick Kyrgios in a match that promises fireworks.
“Obviously I knew if both of us win, we could play each other,” Brown told reporters. “We played IPTL (International Premier Tennis League) together, he’s a really nice guy. We are friends. We’ll go out and have fun and play good tennis.”
Brown, ranked 85, was handed a wildcard by the organizers and he more than justified his invite in front of a packed crowd on Court 16 — breaking for a 4-1 lead in the fourth set and then streaking through the decider in 27 minutes.
One minute crunching a backhand, the next feathering a deft drop volley, Brown went through his full repertoire.
Of the 138 points he won, 55 were at the net.
“In the beginning there was not a lot of rhythm for me volleying,” he said. “Returns were going all over the place, and then suddenly he started connecting with a few.
“The most important was just to stay calm and keep playing, knowing this is my surface, that I can win this match no matter how long it goes.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by John Stonestreet