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May 3rd – History was made at the BMW Open 2013 as three Germans advanced to the semifinals in an ATP Tournament for the first time since 1999. But it may be the player with best form that may spoil the party and sneak away with the prize.
Before the tournament, homegrown favorites Tommy Haas and defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber were expected to make it this far, perhaps win the whole tournament. As third and fourth seeds respectively, they would be joined by top seed Janko Tipsarevic and #2 Marin Cilic.
Tipsarevic was outdone by German Daniel Brands 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinal to make history. And Cilic was one of the victims of Ivan Dodig, the one non-German still alive in the tournament. The 56th-ranked Croatian first defeated BMW Open 2011 champ Nikolay Davydenko, ATP-ranked #11 Cilic in the second round, and then 5th seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov – all in straight sets. And now Haas is in his way to the final.
Haas continued his dominance over his countryman Mayer, beating him for the fifth time and never dropping a set, winning this time 6-4, 6-1. From the onset, Mayer seemed he was up to the challenge, but his points came with tremendous effort, while Haas was winning his easily. After losing a break in the first set to go down 5-4, he freefalled in the second set, losing key break points. Meanwhile, Haas gathered steam, emphatically winning points with aces and reached his fourth semifinal of the season.
“The second set was the worse for me,” a despondent Mayer said afterwards. “I didn’t take advantage of my chances and let the set get away from me.”
Haas now gets ready to take on Dodig, who he beat in three sets a couple of months ago at the ATP stop at Delray Beach. “I look forward to a tough match, (Dodig) is playing well here, it’s going to be tough for both of us,” said Haas to the press after the match.
The Kohlschreiber-Viktor Troicki match also started quite even until Troicki gave up a break point into the net and allowed his opponent to finish off the set 6-3. During the set changeover, Troicki received medical treatment for the upper part of his leg and was wrapped. The Serbian’s game was not affected, keeping even with his opponent, and even took a 6-5 lead and was up 40-15, ready to wrap up the set.
It was then either the injury did affect Troicki and at the same time, Kohlschreiber found his second wind, coming back to win the deuce game, and then winning both the tiebreak 7-3 and the set, 7-6.
“I made it tough for myself, I made some small errors,” said Kohlschreiber who qualified for his second consecutive semifinal. “Luckily I was able to fight off the two set points and then win the tiebreak.”
In the nightcap, Brands surprised the world’s #10 player Tipsarevic, raising his game and staying even with the Serb. Brands forced Tipsarevic to fight off break points, with helped get the first set. In the second set, Tipsarevic was able to earn the upper-hand with a key break point. But he lost an early break point in the third and decisive final set, going down 3-1 and Brands seemed to rest up when his opponent was serving as long as he won his service game, which he did.
“I was tense before the match but then I focused from the beginning of the match and then played normally,” admitted the 25-year-old from nearby Deggendorf. “But I can’t rest on this victory, I have to focus 100% on this match (vs. Kohlschreiber) if I want to win.. I have nothing to lose, he’s the favorite in the match and I will try to play my game.”
One German will definitely make it to the final, Dodig has a chance to continue crashing this party.
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Semifinals Set on Center Court, May 4th
Tommy Haas (GER) vs. Ivan Dodig (CRO) 13:30 CET
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) vs. Daniel Brands (GER) not before 15:00 CET
Germans in the Open Era
Saturday will mark only the fifth time that three Germans or more will play in the semifinal of the same ATP Tournament:
2013 Munich (3)
1999 Hong Kong (3)
1978 Berlin (3)
1973 Berlin (3)
1973 Dusseldorf (4)
Haas, Meyer Advance
May 2nd – A day after #2 seed Marin Cilic was upset by Ivan Dodig, an alarm went out to the other players to not take their opponents lightly. On a rainy afternoon in Munich, the Germans took heed and advanced.
Tournament favorite Tommy Haas took a bit over two hours to finish off Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-7, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal matchup against countryman Florian Mayer, who outlasted Marinko Matosevic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Matosevic won the first set easily 6-2 thanks to three break-points won and a couple of double-faults by Mayer. However trouble for Australian started midway in the second set as he started to commit unforced errors, losing two points in a row. Mayer took advantage, breaking service and going up 4-3. After winning the point to get within 5-4, Matosevic received medical treatment for his back. It didn’t help, as Mayer finished off the set with an ace, winning it 6-4.
During the changeover, Matosevic continued to receive treatment and his play was clearly affected. He was letting out groans of frustration with every ball that went into the net. First he tried a cheeky move, but his dink shot did not get past the net. And then he double-faulted, going down 5-2. Mayer got his fourth ace to take it to match point and it was then over, 6-2.
“Matosevic started strong, his serve was very good, it was hard me as the ground was slippery,” admitted Mayer after the match. “I was too passive and didn’t move that much. With the break in the 2nd set, I was better.”
The sixth-seeded Mayer will take on third-seeded Haas who has experience a renaissance the last year and is now the top-ranked German in this tournament. It seemed it would be easy for Haas in his first match, breaking Gulbis in the first set and then winning 6-4. Gulbis showed promise, winning three points off aces, and he started the second set the same. He would build a 3-0 lead.
Haas came back to draw even 3-3 and then the two would battle to a tie-break 6-6. The highlight of the set was a fortunate backhand save by Haas spun over the net and then back to prevent a hard-charging Gulbis to respond. Haas tied it up with an ace after that. Gulbis did not falter, taking advantage of unforced errors by his opponent, winning 7-3 in the tie-break.
But it was the German who found a second wind in the final set, playing a bit more aggressive. In the opening set, he had only one ace and one double fault. In the third set, four aces and two double faults. His attack proved fruitful, saving two break points and converting two himself to finish off Gulbis 6-1 and exact a little revenge. Gulbis defeated Haas in the semis on his way to winning ATP stop in Delray Beach two months ago.
“Today was important for me to try play some good tennis, see how the match goes and play out certain situations that one can’t in practice,” said Haas after. Marin Cilic was upset as the number two seed a day earlier, and Haas took note. “When someone is not able to play their best tennis, they are going home.”
Haas will now take on Mayer who has never taken a set in their four meetings, last losing in Hamburg also in the quarterfinals.
Despite not knowing at the time of his post-match press conference, Mayer spoke wise words about his game today. “If I play tomorrow like I did today, no matter whom I play, I won’t have a chance. But everything is possible in tennis, every day is different.”
Quarterfinals Set on Center Court, May 3rd
Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. Ivan Dodig 11:00 CET
Florian Mayer vs. Tommy Haas starting at 13:25 CET
Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Viktor Troicki
Janko Tipsarevic vs. Daniel Brands
Monfils Moves On
April 29th – Gaël Monfils completed the final 16 at the BMW Open with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Austrian Jurgen Melzer.
Monfils is currently #99 in the ATP Rankings and struggled at the outset, falling behind Melzer 2-1 in the first set. But he tied the set at 2-2 with an ace winner, measured at 198 mph. He would cruise to victory from there 6-3. The momentum continued into the second set as Melzer could not find his bearings, falling behind the Frenchman 5-2.
At 40-30, Monfils had match point but Melzer fought back with a winner to draw even and won the set from two unforced errors from Monfils.
Undaunted, Monfils started the final game with an ace, and then finished the match with his 15th ace. He will face German Daniel Brands in the second round. Brands escaped by fellow countryman and wildcard entry Tobias Kamke 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
In other action, #6 seed Florian Mayer got by Lukasz Kubot 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 and will try to get into the quarterfinals on Thursday if he can get by Marinko Matosevic from Australia.
Mayer is overshadowed by local favorites Philipp Kohlschreiber and Tommy Haas but he feels he can go deep in the tournament.
“I’m not one of the favorites, but I hope to play well enough to make it hard for my opponent to beat me,” said ATP ranked 27th Mayer after the match. “After that, we’ll see.”
Defending champ and 4th seed Kohlschreiber will return to action on Wednesday after his semifinal loss at the Barcelona Open when he will take on Evgeny Korolev, who snuck past Marco Baghdatis 7-5, 7-6.
The other top match on Wednesday an all-Croat affair as seed Marin Cilic will face Ivan Dodig who defeated 2011 BMW Open champion Nikolay Davydenko on Monday 6-4, 6-4.
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