ABN AMRO World Tennis TournamentATP 500Roger Federer

Federer Grinds Out Kohlschreiber Victory in Rotterdam

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.

Match Stats

Roger Federer Philipp Kohlschreiber
Aces 11 5
Double Faults 0 2
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)
Winners 40 32
Unforced Errors 24 19
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)
SABR 0 0


Thoughts on the Match

Fed Kohli Rotterdam 2018

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.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. Very close match. Glad his serve helped him get through in straight sets. It will be an easier match tomorrow against Hasse. #1 is almost there. One more match to go. Just 65 points behind Nadal now.

  2. Even if Haase stunnes us all and wins the QF,by getting there, Roger won new points and it means that Rafa has to reach the finals in Acapulco in order to remain no 1.

  3. What a quick analysis,thank you Jonathan.Kohli played extremely well and Fed seemed tentative,nervous even.I guess Kohli had nothing to loose while Fed had everything (relatively).Tense in the tie break.so often they are a bit of a lottery.However a good win at the end?

  4. The match against Kohli was entertaining because both guys played well, even if Fed was not at his very best. But I can’t imagine Haase will be as big a challenge. So tomorrow we should be celebrating Roger’s return to No. 1. 🙂

  5. I’m not usually very fanciful but it does strike me the significance of the year. 2018 – 20 slams, number 1 ( hopefully) and lucky number 8

  6. OOff.

    So what was the deal on match point, did Kohli get a double bounce? Because it looks like Fed just put it in the net…
    Hate it when games are surrendered on DFs. Guess he was nervous too.

    Haase next… Griekspoor stayed right with him for most of the first set, but must have run out of gas.

    1. Yep. I was confused initially too on match point. Replays showed he picked it up after the second bounce, so the point was already won on Kohli’s side of the net.

  7. That was a quick recap thank you Jonathan!
    I missed this nail-bitting match. Tomorrow is the big day hope he has a good nights sleep and plays relaxed with Haase. I’m confident we’ll celebrate tomorrow!!
    Can’t wait…

  8. Hopefully, this was Fed’s “bad” match of the tournament. Kohli is enjoyable to watch and I felt he should have won the first set.

    Big day tomorrow. All of tennis land is watching and hoping for a Roger win. Except Nadal, who is at home hiding in the basement, stabbing pins into his Roger voodoo doll with beads of sweat streaming down his face.

    1. Actually it turns out Rafa was in Amsterdam promotional work for his foundation. Roger replied that He should have come and visit in Rotterdam 🙂

  9. I quite like Kohli, so if he’s playing better that’s a good thing. Was Roger getting wobbly already? If so, I wonder what he’ll be like tomorrow against Haase – I think it was quite tight when they played last year?

    BTW, Jon, is there something wrong with the stats table at the bottom? Two sets of “return points won”.

  10. Scrappy match by Roger perhaps due to quality of Kohli’s play and nerves by our man. We are just one match win…hope Roger performs better against Haase. I think its going to be another close match again since Haase has nothing to lose here.

  11. I woke up at 3 my time to watch the match (having gone to sleep at 1 after watching Dimitrov) The match was so tense I was shaking like a leaf the whole time. Now it’ still more than 12 hours until the “My name is Robin” match and my stomach is churning and my palms are clammy. Kohli played a great match last night and I thought he outplayed Federer from the baseline, except on the important points. But then Kohli had absolutely nothing to lose and could just go for broke on every shot.

    Hopefully tonight will be much easier so I can ease off my tranquilizers.

    1. Had forgotten about the “My name is Robin” bit. Haase does have a good sense of humour. Once, when he was playing against Raonic he pretended to hide behind the net post when waiting for Milos’ serve.


    Total weeks as world No. 1:
    1 Roger Federer 303* 2 Pete Sampras 286 3 Ivan Lendl 270

    Oldest No. 1s in men’s rankings history:
    1 Roger Federer, 36, on 19 February 2018* 2 Andre Agassi, 33, on 7 September 2003 3 Rafael Nadal, 31, on 18 February 2018

    Longest Gap Between Stints as No. 1:
    1 Roger Federer 5 years, 106 days* 2 Andre Agassi 3 years, 142 days (1996-99) 3 Jimmy Connors 3 years, 65 days

    Longest Gap Between first and most recent day as No. 1:
    1 Roger Federer 14 years, 17 days* 2 Rafael Nadal 9 years, 184 days 3 Jimmy Connors 8 years, 339 days

    * if Federer beats Haase in Rotterdam

    1. Technically, losing to Haase would mean 2 of those records could be made even better. I think by losing, Federer stands to make even more history. Just saying!

  13. Phew, it was a tense match! Thanks for the quick recap, J.
    Was Roger nervous sighting No.1 or what? Maybe one of those days that he felt might lose like the one against Berdych but overcome at AO this year. Loved the 2 one hand BHs! Kohli did indeed play great but in the end, he was his usual self…remember against some 100 BPs or MPs Andy Murray at where was it, Dubai?
    Anyway one more to go, allez Rogaaaa.

  14. I think Kohli in great way exceeded expectations, playing with grace, speed and competence – but got wobbly near the end of the TB in 1. set.
    Somehow this story repeated itself near the end of 2. set. “The big points”. Versus anybody else I would have been VERY annoyed, as it is, I think Roger played well too, – his stats are still more than ok vs Kohli.
    Kohli was very good too on grass vs Fed I think in Halle – 3 – or 4 years ago? And created excitement and nerves about the result. Kohli is IMO one of the greatest players not winning many tours.
    I’m not very nervous of tonight. Fed’s form is ok, and he knows how to win, even if it at some part of the match it may seem a little too unsure to us.

  15. I only watched some parts of the 1st set. It was more a very good match from Kohlschreiber than a less accomplished match from Fed (which it was, too; you cannot be at the top of your game every single day. It’s humanly impossible). PK was hitting very deep and serving really well. I wouldn’t be madly upset (well, a little) if Fed had lost. PK has a clean game and a nice attitude. I really like watching him play.

  16. In an interview in Dutch television Roger said he hoped to be playing against Haase: he knows him iswell and a good friend of his.
    The two joked last year to each other: every tournament that Roger won he had been training that week with Haase, so his results were thanks to Haase ?
    The last time they met it was a close match but Roger shouldn’t have any problem winning tonight.
    Although I’m Dutch I desperately want Roger to win and regain the number 1 spot!

  17. So glad to see Roger win, I never really thought he would lose. P.K. played so well, when he is on his
    game he is so good. Read that German TV had asked Fed about a tape he had on his back, but nothing
    to worry about. I can’t remember ever seeing our man as nervous firstly at AO and now at Rotterdam.
    so C’mon Roger forget about nerves and get No 1….we’ll do the nailbiting for you x

  18. I think Kohli follow rogers advice that they need to be aggressive for them to beat him. but so close yet so far… 🙂 Credit to Kohli he’s really a tough customer so I expected to be like that. 🙂 well moving on!

  19. Nice comment from Kohli that he was rather glad that he had lost because he would have never got out of Rotterdam alive if he had won.?
    As for tonight,the head to head is 2-0 in Rogers favour.Sue hoped that this was the ‘bad’ match of the tournament so let’s hope so.I think that it will be closish but Fed wins.On the other side of the draw Berdy is out which means Goffin will be well rested against Dimitrov.He,Dimi is serving very well at the moment,thank goodness Fed can only
    meet one of them should he get that far.Of course should he win tonight he may have to play Seppi!! tomorrow.

    1. That my friend is why Kohli has never been a top 10 player. A total lack of ruthlessness on the big points and a lack of sufficient anger at losses. He’s made a tidy $10.7 million hanging around the top 40 for his career, never beating the top guys.

  20. Just when Fed looks to be on the cusp of some big achievement, specifically in a position where he is expected to win, he goes ahead and makes crap out of gold. How he can be nervous playing a mediocre Haase is beyond me.

    1. BUT HE WON. Well he is kind of sensitive. Those kinds of people get nervous. On big points. But in spite of this Rogde is a WINNER!

  21. So 14 years, 17 days after he first reached No. 1 Roger does it again! Totally amazing! That first set was sort of scary, but after that Fed simply took complete control.
    Apparently Haase was ill this week, Fed mentioned it in his speech. So good for Robin to do as well as he did.

    Now Roger just needs to win this tourney for title No, 97!

  22. Sorry late to this J, but yes, standard 2nd match, better oppo, nervy Rog. Wasn’t going to lose but Kohli’s sounds often gives him trouble. That 5 all game in 2nd set was story of Kohli’s career… ?

    Ps can’t wait for Yr no 1 write up!

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