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Baker, Levine Among Four American Wimbledon Qualifiers

Wimbledon, England

Levine© Getty ImagesJesse Levine is one of four American men to come through the Wimbledon qualifying.

American comeback kid Brian Baker has continued his fairytale run, qualifying into the main draw of Wimbledon for the first time. Baker, 27, rallied from a set down Wednesday to beat Frenchman Maxime Teixeira 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in the final round of qualifying.

“It feels great and is very exciting,” Baker told Wimbledon.com. “I started off a little slow today but I was able to turn it round pretty quickly. Once I got the first break point the floodgates kind of opened up and I was able to break a lot. I had two match points. It’s never easy closing it out.”

After missing six years of his career due to various injuries, Baker last month came through qualifying to reach his first ATP World Tour final in Nice (l. Almagro). He is one of four Americans qualifiers to make it into the Wimbledon main draw. Last week Baker lost his opening-round qualifying match at the AEGON Championships to Evgeny Korolev.

Joining the Nashville native in The Championships, which begin Monday, are countrymen Ryan Sweeting, Jesse Levine and Michael Russell. It is the third time in four years that four Americans have qualified at Wimbledon, but last year there were no American qualifiers.

Sweeting overcame a two-set deficit to beat German Peter Torebko 3-6, 1-6, 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-4. The-24 year-old Sweeting saved a match point down 4-5, 30/40 in the fourth set, and forced the deciding fifth set after recovering from a 0/40 hole in the 12th game.

The former Houston titlist broke serve at the start of the final set and held on to win in three hours and 24 minutes.  Last year, as a direct acceptance, Sweeting lost to Rafael Nadal in the second round. He also qualified in 2010.

Levine, who survived a 10-8 third set in the opening round of qualifying against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, enjoyed a 7-6(3), 6-1, 6-2 final-round qualifying win Wednesday over countryman Wayne Odesnik. Levine has now advanced to the Wimbledon main draw four times from four qualifying attempts. In 2009 he advanced all the way to the third round.

Russell survived a five-setter Wednesday to qualify, beating Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. The Houston resident is 1-5 in career main draw appearances at Wimbledon. Last year he lost in the first round to Nadal.

Qualifying top seed Jurgen Zopp became the first men's player from Estonia to reach the main draw at the All England Club after securing a 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 win over South African Izak Van Der Merwe. Last year in London, Zopp lost in five sets in the final round of qualifying, but came through the qualifying stages of the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year.

Also Wednesday it was announced that Frenchman Gael Monfils had withdrawn from the main draw due to a right knee injury that also sidelined him at Roland Garros.

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