For the fifth time in his career and for the first time since four years, Florian Mayer has made it to the quarter finals of the German Open 2017 at Hamburg Rothenbaum. After 110 minutes, the player form Bayreuth and the 6500 spectators on the “Centre Court of the World” exuberantly celebrated his hard-fought victory against the Russian Andrey Kuznetsov – and right he was! After Halle/Westfalen it is the second time that Mayer qualified for the quarter finals and once again showed how much he feels at home on Germany’s biggest Centre Court. Mayer started his round-of-16 match with a lot of self-confidence and didn’t intend to miss out on the great opportunity he was given in the duel against Kuznetsov. The first break was enough to go up a set but then things went wildly “back and forth”. Kuznetsov started to adapt well to Mayer’s game, returned better and made the German meet new challenges. The Franconian, however, also kept his calm after his opponent equalized the set and was the more stable and calmer player. While the 33-year old only made 20 unforced errors, Kuznetsov’s amounted to 43. Moreover, the Russian didn’t convert any of his five break chances in the third set and was subsequently punished. Making it to the quarters also has another pleasant effect for the Bavarian. As of Monday, he will be among the top 80 best tennis players in the world.
However, the dream of a German quarter-finals didn’t come true since Mayer will encounter Diego Schwartzman who eliminated Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in a close three-set match. When Mayer appeared in the player’s tunnel in order to take a look at his next opponent Stebe was already 5-1 up and converted his first set point to take the lead.
And also the second set started promisingly from a German point of view. Stebe got up to an early break but then Schwartzman, who was the favourite, raised his game and thus the level of the match. Midway through the second set, the 24-year old held his serve for the first time, while Stebe had more and more difficulties to hold his serve. The barely 1.70m tall player gained more and more self-confidence and fought hard to win the second set. The third set was quick: ranked number 38 in the ranking, Schwartzman dictated the game and the pace and returned as was to be expected. He took the decisive third set 6-2 and thus, for the first time, made it to the quarters in Hamburg after having tried four times. Nevertheless, the trip to Hamburg was surely worth it for Cedrik-Marcel Stebe since he captured one of his greatest successes this year by making it to the round of last sixteen and moving up 30 places in the ranking.
The former world number three David Ferrer had quite a tedious start into the tournament. Three days after winning his 27th title on the ATP World Tour, the experienced player booked a place in the round of last sixteen after beating the Georgian Nikoloz Basilashivili in three sets (6-2, 3-6, 6-3) but previously had some problems when Basilashvili started to play with more courage. In the end, the Iberian benefitted from his opponent’s 60 unforced errors and will surely have to raise his level in the next round against the Argentinean Federico Delbonis.
For the Brit Aljaz Bedene, however, the first round was a cakewalk. It only took him 68 minutes to beat the lucky loser Jose Hernandez-Fernandez from the Dominican Republic 6-1 and 6-2, whereas Fernando Verdasco’s defeat caused surprise. The Bastad semi-finalist who had beaten Alexander Zverev in the first round lost the resumed match against the Czech Jiri Vesely 6-7, 7-6 and 3-6. Thus, David Ferrer is the only Spaniard left in the singles competition.