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Querrey latest victim of ‘Casino Curse’

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Originally published on: 08/07/10 10:56

The ‘Casino Curse’ strikes again in Newport. Never in the 35-year history of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships has the top-seeded player claimed the title at the grass court tournament, and so the case will remain for at least another year after Sam Querrey was thoroughly outplayed in Rhode Island.

James Blake came the closest to bucking the trend in 2002 (but the top seed eventually lost to compatriot Taylor Dent) and it was a man blessed with an even more impressive hair arrangement than a youthful Blake that caused this year’s upset.

Jamaican Dustin Brown – ‘Dreddy’ to his friends – showed exactly why grass is his favourite surface yesterday, defeating 2009 finalist Querrey 6-4 6-3 in just 47 minutes.

The lengthily-dreadlocked 25-year-old, who was born and lives in Germany, first defeated 99th ranked Bjorn Phau, before sealing his shock second round win over the world No.19 to book a place in an ATP tour quarter-final for the second time in his career.

“When I saw the draw in the beginning, I was like ‘Bjorn [Phau] – he’s a tough guy to play – and Querrey, that’s not the draw I wanted’,” said world No.108 Brown, who was ranked in the 400s just a year ago. “Now I won, it’s okay. But before, he’s a great player. He did unbelievable in Queen’s, saw him there and saw him play against all those guys. It’s going to take a little bit to sink in probably.”

A three-time titlist this year, and in good form on grass after taking the Queen’s title and managing a career-best fourth round finish at Wimbledon, Querrey had few complaints after a gargantuan serving display from Brown, who at 6ft5 is an inch shorter than Querrey.

“Kudos to him,” said the 22-year-old American. “In his service game there was never a point more than two shots. It’s hard to get into a rhythm, and on my service games, I’d throw in a double-fault and he’d rip one of those continental forehand winners.”

Ah yes, one of those. Equally ‘ripping’, was the performance of an Englishman – Richard Bloomfield, no less, who in another of the tournament’s shocks (fellow Brits better sit down for this), thoroughly upset the odds to reach the quarter-finals. The Norwich-born 27-year-old spectacularly defied his lowly ranking of 552 to beat Christophe Rochus in the first round, before defeating world No.56 and tournament second seed Santiago Giraldo 6-3 7-6(5).

The British No.12 and former world No.176 will aim to keep the wheels on the bus rolling round against promising American teenager Ryan Harrison, who he faces tomorrow for a dream spot in the last four.

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