Roger Federer is now just one victory from overtaking Rafael Nadal at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings after defeating Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(8), 7-5 in one hour and 42 minutes to book his spot in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament quarter-finals.
Federer, who had looked imperious in his first round victory yesterday evening had to save two set points in a tight first set tiebreak and despite the German playing some high-quality punchy tennis he couldn't fend off the pressure at five-all in the second as Roger set up a guaranteed quarter-final showdown against a home favourite in either Robin Haase or Tallon Griekspoor.
Quick Match Recap
Kohlschreiber won the toss and elected to receive. The German looking to win his first match against Fed in 12 meetings started with a brilliant return but still somehow lost the point as Roger held for 1-0. Kohlschreiber was then pegged to deuce but levelled and both guys began to exchange comfortable holds.
The set ticked over to 5-5 and a smart challenge from Roger at 30 all gave him his first break point of the set but Kohlschreiber held to force a tie-break.
Into the breaker and Kohli came up with an awesome pass to lead 2-1 on serve. The German then hit a sweet return to snatch a minibreak and held both his serves for a 5-2 lead. Roger then held both his serves and managed to save a set point at 4-6 and reeled off three points in a row for a 7-6 lead. Kohlschreiber saved the set point but then went for too much on his forehand at seven all to give Fed his second set point. Again he couldn't take it, however, the Swiss reacted well to sharp return to lead 9-8 and converted his third set point to take the tiebreak 10-8.
Into set two and Kohli held his opening service game for a 1-0 lead. Roger was able to level to 30 and had fashioned three break points in the next game but couldn't convert. A 1-minute special saw Roger level at 2-2 and a further three holds apiece made it look like the set would too go the distance. However at five-all Kohli got himself in trouble at 0-30, he recovered to 40-30 but double-faulted at deuce to give Roger break point. He saved it and held a game point of his own but couldn't escape, giving Fed another break point and handing him the game with only his second double fault of the match. Roger then served it out to 15 to move into the Quarter Finals.
|Roger Federer||Philipp Kohlschreiber|
|1st Serve||68% (46/68)||62% (56/91)|
|1st Serve Points Won||89% (41/46)||64% (36/56)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||64% (14/22)||69% (24/35)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/0)||83% (5/6)|
|Service Games Played||12||12|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||36% (20/56)||11% (5/46)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||31% (11/35)||36% (8/22)|
|Break Points Converted||17% (1/6)||0% (0/0)|
|Net Points Won||92% (22/24)||50% (3/6)|
|Return Games Played||12||12|
|Service Points Won||81% (55/68)||66% (60/91)|
|Return Points Won||34% (31/91)||19% (13/68)|
|Total Points Won||54% (86/159)||46% (73/159)|
Thoughts on the Match
A world away from last nights flawless performance here from Roger as he had to grind out the win against the talented Kohlschreiber. Whereas Bemelmans was behind the eight ball from the outset, Kohli was the man who imposed himself early, playing aggressively on the return, going for his shots and preventing Fed from ever getting on the offence.
The German was arguably the better player for most of the match from the baseline but Roger's serve kept him in it and unfortunately for Kohlschreiber he couldn't win the big moments or create any break point chances. Failing to win the tie-break from 5-2 and then hitting two double faults at five-all in the second was the story of this match, if not the H2H which now sits at 13-0 in Federer's favour.
As for Fed he wasn't as sharp as last night and looked a bit scrappy with his footwork but that's mainly down to Kohlschreiber who struck the ball so nicely from the back of the court. I figured Fed would be the one up the court giving Kohlschreiber the runaround but it was the German who had Fed on the run. As a result, Fed was forced to play defensively for a lot of the match, put plenty spin on the ball and that allowed Kohlschreiber to dictate. But as we've countless times before, Fed plays these situations well, knuckling down when he needs to, holding his serve and winning the points that matter most to come out on top.
Predictions vs. Haase
Next up is Robin Haase who saw off Griekspoor in straight sets. Roger leads the H2H 2-0 and has practised with Haase a number of times so knows his game very well.
I make Fed the big favourite after coming through vs Kohli and I think he matches up well against Robin. The Dutchman has a big serve / forehand but his backhand isn't the best and I don't think he will be able to take the game to Fed consistently. He'll certainly hit some big flashy slots and he's troubled both Murray and Nadal before at Slams but I pick Fed in two tight-ish sets.