Kohlschreiber wins BMW Open


Posted by Salman Mitha

Posted in BMW Open / Tennis


Kohlschreiber wins BMW Open

Sport Eagle’s Craig White covered the BMW Open from Munich and reviewed the days happenings with entries into his daily dairy. 

Here’s a review of Day 7 – The Finals.

Munich, May 6 – After a week of great tennis, the German fans were rewarded by seeing their brave compatriot Philipp Kohlschreiber winning his second Munich title, and his fourth overall ATP title.

As the #4 seed, Kohlschreiber played a younger Marin Cilic (CRO), the #2 seed, to obtain the title and the winning purse of €71,900.00.

Both players started extremely well, not allowing their opponent any opportunities to obtain a break of serve.  As the opening set was played, each man put everything into making sure they won their service games.  Cilic being the much taller man was able to produce huge power, immediately putting pressure on Kohlschreiber and forcing him into errors.

However, Kohlschreiber showed he wouldn’t be outdone.  The German may not have been able to produce as much speed on the serve but his variety of serves clearly kept Cilic guessing throughout the set.

The importance of gaining early momentum in a final is paramount, who would take the advantage?  Well neither player could, as they edged closer and closer to a first set tie break.

Neither player was giving an inch and the tie break was inevitable.  This is where Kohlschreiber came into his own, creating chances for himself, of which he duly took advantage.  The German created the opportunity to break and suddenly the chance was there for Kohlschreiber to win the tie break and give himself a huge psychological boost as they progressed into the second set.  The German took the set 7-6 after winning the tie breaker 8-6.

Would Cilic be able to respond or would Kohlschreiber have the strength of mind to finish the Croatian off in straight sets?

It was clear from the offset that the title belonged to Kohlschreiber as Cilic seemed to put in so much effort to stamp his authority on the match and having failed to win the set, he appeared to have nothing left going into the 2nd set.

Kohlschreiber got stronger and stronger as the 2nd set wore on and soon enough he obtained the vital break he needed to win this match.  The German certainly didn’t look back, he kept winning his own services and once the break had been achieved it seemed inevitable that Kohlschreiber would win the coveted trophy.  He took the 2nd set 6-4 and provided a much needed boost for tennis within Germany.

The future had looked bleak but now Kohlschreiber proved he had the ability to mix it with the best and provide the younger generation with someone to look up to and aspire to be like.

What seemed an unhappy situation with the country’s tennis, suddenly appears more fruitful.  A perfect ending for German fans.

Munich, May 5 – Mixed Fortunes in the Semifinals

Tommy Haas (wc) played the young Marin Cilic (3) in the today’s first semifinal.

Haas, who had already dispatched of the top seed Tsonga and 8th seed Baghdatis in earlier rounds, was unable to produce the same standard of tennis against the young Croatian.

As the first set started, Cilic appeared more relaxed and composed; Haas, who was playing in his first ATP semifinal since august 2009, didn’t seem able to rise to the occasion.

Both players were hitting good ground strokes, however , Cilic appeared able to take advantage of the spaces he was opening on center court.  As the first set wore on, Cilic pushed hard to obtain a break of serve.  This was important for him, especially as Haas had the full support of the home crowd.  Marin managed to obtain the important breakmid way through the first set and eventually took the set 6-3.

Would things change in the second set?  Unfortunately not.  And it wasn’t due to the lack of effort on Tommy’s part.  It was clear for all the fans that he wanted to get to the final and reward the locals for their support.  Similar to the first set, the Croatian took a few sloppy shots from the German and managed to get the all-important break.

From this point onwards, Marin didn’t look back and booked himself a place in the final against either Kohlschreiber or Lopez.  Who would he be face?  Well this would be determined soon as the other semifinal was soon on court.

In the second semifinal, all the pressure was on the German.

Number 2 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) took on number 4 seed Feliciano Lopez (SPA) for final which will be played on Sunday.

The first set and Kohlschreiber was clearly motivated to make the fans happy after his fellow countryman and friend Haas was beaten by Cilic in the 1st semi final of the day.

He was playing exquisite tennis, giving his opponent no chance to settle.  Moving the ball from the back of the court with devilish accuracy, forcing the Spaniard into mistakes and taking advantage of any opening.

Before long Kohlschreiber managed to gain the break that his tennis deserved.  It appeared Lopez had no response and wasn’t able to get himself back in the set which Kohlschreiber won 6-2.

Would the Spaniard make improvements in the second set to make it a contest?  Lopez looked more at ease in this set and forced the German to win every point without giving Kohlschreiber the gift of any easy chances.  Eventually they reached the infamous 6-6 in games, now it was down to who would hold their nerve.

Well this time the Spaniard didn’t look back and broke the Kohlschreiber serve on two occasions to win the tie break 7-4 to make it 1-1 and everything would be determined in the third and final set.

Who would have the bottle to take control and book their place in the final?  Simple, the German, Philipp Kolschreiber.

As the 3rd set started, Kolschreiber played as if his life depended on beating Lopez.  Suddenly the German saw the ball as big as a beach ball, taking every shot early at its highest point enabling him to put pressure on Lopez in every situation.

So much that the break came and then the German didn’t look back.  Once the break was assured he pushed the Spaniard into more and more situations that Lopez was unable to cope with and went on to win the set 6-4 and book his place in Sunday’s final.

Cilic is a good player and has a higher ranking than Kohlschreiber but with the fans behind the German, he will be confident of defeating the Croatian to regain the trophy he previously won five years ago.

May 4 – Day 5: Germans Shine

It was quarterfinal day at the BMW Open in Munich.  Today was all about Tommy Haas and Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Haas (GER) wildcard vs 8th seed Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)

The German Haas had already disposed of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who was number 1 seed earlier in the week.  However, today was a different proposition as he was playing against Baghdatis who has been in good form recently.

Tommy Haas is looking solid and could make the final. Photo: White / Sport Eagle

The first set was one-way traffic as Haas continued where he left off against Tsonga and went into a 3-0 lead.  Baghdatis seemed out of his depth, struggling to gain advantage in all the rallies, although he held his second service game to make the score 3-1.  Then Haas stepped up a gear, strolling through the remainder of the set at a canter, he eventually won 6-1.

In the 2nd set, Baghdatis showed why he had made it so far in the tournament, and showed he wasn’t going to lose without a fight.  He proved this in the 2nd game of the set which took Haas a total of 12 minutes to win.  However, both men held serve in a far more contested set, no one was creating any chances to break and this was contributed to some fantastic ground strokes from the back of the court.

Suddenly we reached a tie break.  At this stage, it appeared that Haas was hitting shots with more top spin pushing, Baghdatis deeper and deeper into the court, forcing the Cypriot to play defensive.  Then Tommy got the break, the question was – could he close out the set?  Yes, ice cool concentration and going for the winners when space was created.  The second set was finished, the match was over.  Haas won 6-1, 7-6 (7-3), and the German progresses to the semi-finals.

4th seed Kohlschreiber (GER) vs Marinko Matosevic (AUS)

Philipp came onto the court with a point to prove, he wanted to regain the title he first won in 2007, within 23 mins the first set was completed.  Philipp was playing with controlled aggression, taking advantage of every loose shot the Australian hit.

Many would say this is the perfect formula to play on clay and Kohlschreiber was not going to disappoint as he won the first set 6-0.  Matosevic had no answers to the German’s skills at this point, although everyone was wondering what developments would unfold in the 2nd set.  Would Matosevic show the quality that got him this far in the tournament, or would Kohlschreiber dismantle the Australian as he had done in the previous set?

It would be answered, each player showing the best of their ability and managing to hold serve. As the set drew to a close it was clear that neither man would manage to break the serve of their opponent as the focus was solely to keep winning their own service games.  This eventually led to a tie break and this is where the composed German stepped into a league of his own.

From nowhere, Kohlschreiber started to create openings from all over the court, helped with a good first serve percentage which always proves useful, breaking Matosevic’s serve to put the hometown favourite in a perfect position to take the tie break and the match like his fellow countryman had done earlier.  Kohlschreiber took the match 6-0, 7-6 (7-3).

At the start of the week it seemed there was no hope regarding German tennis.  As the tournament draws to a close it could end up being an all-German final, can Haas and Kolschreiber can keep their composure to reward the fans with the final they want?

May 3 – The sky was grey and the temperature was much colder than the previous three days.  Would the standard of tennis warm up the fans , especially having made the trips to support their tennis stars?

Yes, as we saw great tennis by all.

Two Australians had the chance to book themselves a quarterfinal place on clay.  Bernard Tomic is a talented up-and-coming player seeded 5th in this event, and he would have to play qualifier Potito Starace from Italy to continue his progression in this tournament.

The first set was easy for the man from Oz as he created space, and game winning situations at will.  Tomic showed he was able to dictate the points against the Italian and this was because of strong ground strokes that pinned Potito to the back of the court, winning the set 6-1.

However, Potito would have something to say about this in the 2nd set.  The Italian came onto the court with a more positive attitude and seemed like he was in a practice session, not having to carry the weight of a tournament on his shoulders, he started to open up and relax, producing winners when needed and reading Tomic’s game.

Tomic was pushing hard as he wanted the straight-sets win, however the strength of character showed by the Italian would take it to a deciding set as Potito took the 2nd set 7-6 (7-4) in the tiebreak.

Going into the third and final set, would either player be able to raise their game one more time to obtain quarter final spot?  Yes, Tomic showed the true Australian fighting spirit.  Not only did he break the Italian’s serve, he broke it twice with some suave ground strokes. The shots that seemed to disappear from Tomic’s game in the second were back.  Tomic closed out the final set 6-3 to win 2-1 and book his first quarterfinal berth on clay.

Bernard’s Australian counterpart Marinko Matosevic also progresses to the quarterfinal after playing a similar three set match.  The Australian qualifier played fellow qualifier Robert Farah (COL), the first was won at a canter by the Australian, as he took the set 6-1.

However, like Tomic, Matosevic took his foot off the gas in the second, ultimately paying the price for lack of concentration.  The Australian’s focus was lost, this allowed Farah the chance to make his move, he had to fight for every point but managing to hold his nerve to win the second set tiebreak 7-2.

Similar to Tomic’s performance, the Australian Marinko came out for the 3rd set with a different mindset, breaking the Colombian’s serve three times to win the set 6-2 and book his quarterfinal place.

Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber won the event in 2007 and is the 4th seed this year, played Ernest Gulbis (LAT).  Philipp has the look of a player that wants to prove a point, both to German players and fans alike and to the world of tennis.  The 28-year-old brushed aside Gulbis in under an hour, winning in straight sets 7-5 6-3.

Kohlschreiber has the hometown support, and his performance today showed no concerns as he progresses through this event.  Accurate and powerful serves followed up by monster ground strokes. The German will be very happy with the manner in which he dispatched his Latvian opponent and being able to win the match so quickly, certainly gives Philipp a good opportunity to rest and recover.

The quarterfinals draw for today: Tommy Haas (GER) vs 8th seed Marcos Baghdatis (CYP), Marinko Matosevic (AUS) vs 4th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger), 5th seed Bernard Tomic (Aus) vs 2nd seed Feliciano Lopez (Spa) and finally 3rd seed Marin Cilic vs 6th seed Mikhail Youzhny.

Question is, can Haas and Kolschreiber keep winning to make it an all-German final, the match that the fans want, especially when you consider this may be Haas last opportunity to win the event?

May 2 – Haas shows Experience

What a day, three Germans had the opportunity to shine, could they progress further?

The day’s play started with Marin Cilic (CRO) vs Matthias Bachinger (GER).

However, this match would not have a fairy tale ending for Matthias.  Both players started strongly but the number 3 seed Cilic soon showed his superiority.  Marin has been struggling with his form recently, although, many a pro tennis player wouldn’t want to challenge the tall Croatian when his concentration levels are at its highest.

During the first set Marin started to dominate and broke Matthias’ serve in game 4.  From this point onwards the match was one-sided.  Big serves and aggressive ground strokes took the Croatian through to win the first set 6-3.

The key to the 2nd set was whether the German could or would get a chance to stamp his authority on the set.  It became clear quickly that the Croatian was more hungry to progress in this event, the continuation of strong ground strokes took Marin to an easy straight sets victory after he won the second set 6-2.

The second match on center court saw the charismatic Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) seeded 8 vs. Dustin Brown (GER).  Brown qualified for the main card over the weekend, defeating wild card entrant Daniel Brands in straight sets 6-4 6-3 to book his place against Marcos.

In the 1st set, Brown seemed like a torpedo with heat-seeking accuracy.  He was able to produce winner after winner and also displayed delicate touches around the net producing sublime drop shots.  At this stage it appeared like Marcos had other things on his mind as he lost the opener 6-1.  Time for a change, Marcos came out for the 2nd set like a different man – full of concentration and determination.  The man from Cyprus suddenly appeared to read the Brown strategy, putting himself one step ahead of the German.

At the mid stage of the 2nd set Marcos got the break he needed, could he take advantage?  The answer “absolutely” as he closed out the 2nd set 6-4 in 40 mins.

Moving into the 3rd set, Dustin’s head had dropped, his shot choice became erratic and he struggled to keep the ball in play.  However, his opponent Marcos had the game at his mercy, taking some pace off his shots and started to move the ball round the court with ease.  Similar to the 2nd set, Baghdatis got the break he needed and would not look back.  He continued to win his own serve which was all that was required, closing out the set 6-4 to take the match.

In the biggest game of the day, saw Tommy Haas (GER) vs top seed Jo Wilfried Tsonga (FRA).

Tommy who used to be in the world top 5 was given a wild card for the event.  He looked in great shape physically and mentally, the only concern was whether or not he could reproduce the fantastic form which he had shown before all his injury problems, especially when he close to retiring.

In the 1st set, Haas played exceptionally and Tsonga wasn’t able to gain any rhythm or momentum.  The German took advantage of this opportunity breaking the Tsonga serve at will.  The Frenchman was only able to hold his own serve once in the 1st set, as Haas strolled through to a 6-1 win in just over 20 mins.

Would there be a change of fortunes for Tsonga in the 2nd set?

As the 2nd set started, Jo appears to find his grove and starts to produce some outstanding winners.  But, Haas wouldn’t be affected.  Maybe because the German has plenty of experience and this would show as he broke the Tsonga serve early in the set to give him the break he needed.  Haas was able to perform with complete freedom, producing excellent shots on both the forehand and backhand side.

It was like watching Tommy from 10 years earlier, light on his feet, moving freely and hitting winners when the opportunity arose.  Haas went on to win the set in 38 mins, booking a place against Baghdatis in the next round and leaving the hometown fans happy that at least one German managed to strive forward in the event.

Haas can win this event if he continues to play with freedom and providing he can stay fully fit.

Munich, April 30 – Day 1

Qualifying Finals proved highly successful for Dustin Brown (GER) as he brushed aside Martin Fischer (AUT) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.  Aggressive tennis was the key to winning this contest for Dustin and this was shown in abundance and especially in the 1st set tie break.

However, the remaining Germans in these Finals weren’t so fortunate, all of them crashing out a day before the top seeds join the draw.

Marinko Matosevic (AUS) took little time defeating Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 6-2, 6-3.

The remaining two Germans who reached the Qualifying Finals weren’t able to consistently produce the skills that took them to this stage of the competition.

Dieter Kindlmann (GER) had the match at his mercy after a mesmerising first set against David Goffin (BEL). Kindlmann flew out the blocks and took the opening set 6-1, however, he squandered this chance and lost the remaining two sets in emphatic fashion, 6-3, 6-4.

Robert Farah (COL) showed good strength of character to beat Dominik Meffert (GER) and will look forward to facing the higher seeds now.  His match finished in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.

Munich, April 29 – First serve

Tomorrow sees the start of the BMW Open. The 97th International Tennis Championships of Bavaria, an event which is worth 250 ATP rankings points and a prize purse worth €391,000.00.  The winner will receive €71,900.00 and a BMW Z4 convertible provided by the main sponsor.

This event has a star-packed main card, the highest-ranked Jo Wilfred Tsonga is the top seed and should be considered the favourite.  However, the Spanish players Feliciano Lopez and Nicolas Almagro will have something to say about this.  Spain has become a breeding ground for producing clay court specialists.

Last year’s winner, Nikolay Daveydenko has a favourable draw in the event and will hope to repeat last year’s success, although the German players who are on the main card will have a point to prove.  Philipp Petzschner and Philipp Kohlschreiber are the best of the current crop.

The experienced Tommy Haas received a wild card and is reaching the later stages of the of his career and will want to capture this particular title before he decides that his body can’t cope with the stress of the tour.

Highest ranked players in the BMW Open in Munich.

Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried, FRA, 6
Almagro, Nicolas, ESP, 12
Lopez, Feliciano, ESP, 15
Cilic, Marin, CRO, 23
Stepanek, Radek, CZE, 24
Youzhny, Mikhail, RUS, 31
Kohlschreiber, Philipp, GER, 35
Tomic, Bernard, AUS, 36
Davydenko, Nikolay, RUS, 40
Baghdatis, Marcos, CYP, 42
Bellucci, Thomaz, BRA, 47
Rochus, Olivier, BEL, 52
Giraldo, Santiago, COL, 57
Darcis, Steve, BEL, 68
Starace, Potito, ITA, 70
Falla, Alejandro, COL, 71
Kukushkin, Mikhail, KAZ, 72
Stakhovsky, Sergiy, UKR, 74
Malisse, Xavier, BEL, 75

Munich, April 29 – Qualiification

Qualifying has been completed for the main draw of the BMW Open in Munich.

The first days qualifying proved hugely successful for the German contingent and the young up-and-coming hopeful, Kenny Krawietz showed he has the necessary skills to make players, coaches and fans alike take note.

Problems with German tennis? Not likely as nine nationals qualified during the two days of qualifications.  However, with many of the German contingent being drawn against one another, it was already clear that the nine would not make it to the main card.

Krawietz put on a spirited display but fell short, losing 4-6, 3-6 to the Australian Marinko Matosevic.  His fellow countryman Dustin Brown didn’t have such issues, beating the Colombian Juan Sebastián Cabal in straight sets and his performance was good enough to have merited a quarterfinal or semi-final place.

The main card starts at 11:00 Monday, fan-favourite Jo Wilfred Tsonga will be the man to
 beat, although the Spanish players will have something to say about it.  Feliciano Lopez and Nicolás Almagro are famed for their skills on the clay and this is a surface that all Spanish enjoy playing on.

The event will be played on clay which is ideal preparation for Roland Garros, the famed grounds of the French Open.  The field for the BMW Open is strong, with five of the world’s top 30 players participating in the competition.  The Frenchman Tsonga is the highest ranked player in Munich at number 5 with the German and 2007 winner Philipp Kohlschreiber coming in #33.

One thing is certain, this event has the makings of being something very memorable indeed, providing conditions stay dry it will give tennis fans the chance to see real technical ability and flamboyant players like Tsonga, who you could say is the Muhammad Ali of tennis.  He is a crowed-pleaser, who fans and ATP events need. The competition will have to be top of their game to stop him from lifting the title.

Kolschrieber’s destiny is in his own hands, the draw is favourable for him and shouldn’t have any issues getting through to the later stages of the competition, providing he performs to the level that we know he has.

One of the most interesting factors of the draw is that even being strong, everyone will have a chance of glory. Of course there is a favourite but on any given day and situation, the best players can lose. We have witnessed this before in every sport, not just tennis.

All we can hope is that, all the players, especially the local stars play to their maximum. Then who can say what will unfold.

The BMW Open first round starts on Monday, April 30 at Tennisstadion Iphitos.  Tickets are available from München Ticket Tel. 0180 – 54 81 81 81 or online at www.muenchenticket.de

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