Philipp Kohlschreiber holds up the German flag at the German Open 2016. After a rather bad first set – like in his first-round match against Carlos Berlocq – the German number one raised his game against the Argentinian underdog, Nicolas Kicker, and thus booked a place in the quarter finals. After almost two hours, the 30-year old player from Augsburg enjoyed as the crowd celebrated him for his 4-6, 6-1 and 6-2 victory.
“I was very nervous at the beginning being aware of the chance I have here. However, I pulled myself together in time. My opponent didn’t have anything to lose. I might have been the favourite on paper but everybody here surely knows how to play tennis which doesn’t make things any easier sometimes,” said Philipp Kohlschreiber during his post-match interview on the Centre Court.
Kicker, who had celebrated his first victory on the ATP Tour after his first-round match, started the encounter against the number 22 of the world without any fear and immediately broke Kohlschreiber’s first service game. The 23-year old player from Merlo delighted with his solid baseline game, whereas the German made too many errors during the first set while trying to dictate the game. Thus, the Argentinian, who had only had his debut on the ATP World Tour in spring, took the first set. Kohlschreiber didn’t start rushing but pushed the reset button and more consistently stuck to his game plan, thus only losing another three games.
On Friday, in the quarters, he will be facing an Argentinian player for the third time in a row in this tournament. “It is another player I will have to watch on YouTube because I don’t know a lot about him,” Kohlschreiber explained. Olivo won the Argentinian duel against Maximo Gonzalez 6-3, 6-4. The 24-year old is ranked almost 100 placed behind Gonzalez which, however, on the “Centre Court of the World” was hardly to be noticed. Olivio moved well and was the more courageous player. Furthermore, he fended off all three of his opponent’s break points. Gonzalez surprised the crowd in his first-round match when he beat Jeremy Chardy after fending off match point. Now, he simply lacked the energy to turn things around – especially since Gonzalez was also struggling with physical problems. In the second set, the physio had to give him a pain killer.
The Uruguayan, Pablo Cuevas, reconfirms his status as one of the best clay court players of 2016. It took Cuevas merely 77 minutes to wrap up the all South American match against the Brazilian qualifier, Thiago Monteiro, 6-2 6-3, and thus book a place in the quarters of the most important German clay court tournament.
Especially on his own serve, Cuevas seems untouchable. While in his first-round match against Florian Mayer he didn’t even allow one break point he granted Monteiro just one and earned himself a total of 13 break points which proofs how one-sided the match was. Cuevas surely displayed his class: the “Uru” was very athletic and aggressive, not permitting Monteiro to come up with an answer. “Thiago is a very good player. He didn’t have anything to lose and I’m really happy I made it. The crowd’s support was fantastic, especially my fan club’s,” Cuevas said happily about his victory, as well as the cheers of the kids supporting him within the framework of the “Children for Champions” activity in Hamburg – and, who knows, they might even support him through to the final on Sunday! After all, Cuevas has long become one of the hottest contenders to win the tournament.
In order to make another step towards the trophy Cuevas will have to face the Frenchman, Paul-Henri Mathieu. Last night, the Frenchman and his opponent, Nicolas Almagro surely competed in the so far best match of this year’s tournament. After a real nearly three-hour thriller, the 34-year old player converted his second match point with a net cord shot and wrapped up the match 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 – pure drama indeed! As usual, Almagro showed his emotional side and caused the Hamburg crowd to resent his temper. Although he clearly was the better server he was too careless when trying to use his chances and lost his nerves in the deciding moments. Although the 30-year old Iberian took the first set 6-4, he couldn’t use any of the ten break points he had throughout the encounter. Mathieu drew on all his experience, won the second set in the tiebreaker, calmly waited for his chances in the third and eventually won the last game of the third set 40 love.