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Brown shocks Nadal as Federer survives Halle scare

ESPN staff
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Rafael Nadal lost his first match on grass since winning a ninth French Open title © Getty Images
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Rafael Nadal was knocked out in the second round on his return to the grass court at the Halle Open on Thursday, losing 6-4 6-1 to wildcard Dustin Brown.

Brown broke Nadal's serve at the fifth attempt to win the first set, and he pulled off two audacious lobs in succession to break the Spaniard again early in the second.

Nothing Nadal tried seemed to work in his first match since winning his ninth French Open title. At No.85 in the world, Brown is lowest ranked player to defeat a world number one since then-world No.98 Mardy Fish beat Roger Federer at Indian Wells in 2008.

Roger Federer admitted he was worried after losing the first set © Getty Images
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Brown raced ahead to win in just under an hour, and will next face compatriot Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarter-finals.

Roger Federer began his grass-court preparations for Wimbledon by coming from behind to beat Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-7 (8) 6-4 6-2.

Sousa saved all five break points he faced before taking the first set in a tiebreaker, but the second-seeded Federer raised his level in the next two sets to win the second-round match and move into the last eight.

"It was important to stay calm and actually it gives me more confidence winning this way than maybe just 6-4 6-4 and you don't quite know what is going on," said Federer, who acknowledged he was worried after losing the first set.

It was Federer's first match since losing in the fourth round at the French Open to Ernests Gulbis. Like Nadal, he also had a first-round bye in Halle, where he is a six-time champion. He will next play Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun, who defeated Croatia's Ivo Karlovic 7-6(2) 7-6(3).

"The first day when I came here to practice it was bit so-so, and every day after that was very good," Federer said.

"I will have to adjust in the sense that there will be more baseline duels," said Federer, who was also playing a doubles match later. "We'll see. But I think it's positive that I spent more time on the court today."

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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