ATP 500HalleRoger Federer

Federer Overcomes Kohlschreiber in Halle Opener

Hey guys, we're underway on the green grass of Westphalia and Roger decided to kick things off with a roller-coaster match as he defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(8), 3-6, 7-6(5) to move into the last 16 at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle.

This was always a tough opening match on paper for the Swiss and so it proved with Kohlschreiber winning the battle of the forehands for the most part but falling short in the final set breaker when it mattered most. The German who played the better tennis in sets 2 and 3, managed to win just his second set off Federer in 9 meetings, saved two match points in the third set and was up 5-3 in the in the tie break but Roger's serve got him out of trouble winning 4 points in a row to take it 7-5 in the decider.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Halle 1st Round 2015

Roger won the toss and elected to serve, kicking off with an ace and holding to love for a 1-0 lead. Kohlschreiber then held to 30 but 3 games later he dropped serve and Roger moved into a 4-2 lead. In trying to consolidate the Swiss's serve went AWOL, missing all 8 in the game and after an unfortunate slip at deuce Kohlschreiber broke back.

Back on serve and both players traded back to back holds to send the set into a tie break. This was a topsy turvy one to say the least, Roger holding the mini break but giving it back before then having to save 2 set points at 5-6 and and 7-8 respectively before taking the opener 10-8.

Into set 2 and both players looked confident on serve; quick holds were the order of the day with the scoreboard moving onto 3 games all in no time. In game 8 Roger was rightfully aggrieved at a slow Kohlschreiber challenge which turned out to be correct; this annoyed him doubly considering in the previous game he fired down an unreturnable serve that had to be wrongfully replayed. The argument with Umpire Cedric Mourier spilled over into the changeover and Kohlschreiber then took advantage to break for a 5-3 lead before serving out the set 6-3.

A one set shootout was now a reality and Roger kicked it off with an impressive love hold. The Swiss then pulled off a behind the back lob en route to creating a break point but the German held. At 2-2 it was Kohlschreiber's turn to have a break point but Roger saved it in style with a big serve before holding. No more chances came the way of either player until 4-5 with Kohlschreiber serving; here the German slipped to 15-40 but landed a forehand bang on the baseline then fired down a huge serve to make deuce before holding.

Shrugging off the disappointment of not converting match points isn't easy and Federer got himself in trouble in game 11 giving Kohlschreiber another chance to break serve. It was again saved with a timely first serve and Roger held for 6-5 before Kohli held to force a final set tie break.

Into the breaker and Roger kicked it off with an ace. He he then came up with an awesome forehand at 1-1 but Kohlschreiber pulled off a fantastic get that clipped the netcord to keep it on serve. The German then got the mini break with a brilliant return and then moved into a 4-2 lead; but again couldn't keep the advantage, going long with a forehand. Parity didn't last long for Roger though as he again handed over a mini break to slip to 3-5. At 5-4 Kohlschreiber had 2 serves for the match but after an awesome rally that Roger won for 5-5 Kohlschreiber played a poor dropshot followed up by a tame lob and match point down netted a return to hand Federer the win. Phew!

Match Stats

R.ย Federer P.ย Kohlschreiber
Aces 15 4
Double Faults 2 2
1st Serve % 72% 64%
1st Serve Points Won 63/78 (81%) 50/69 (72%)
2nd Serve Points Won 13/31 (42%) 26/39 (67%)
Break Points Saved 3/5 (60%) 3/4 (75%)
Service Games Played 16 17
1st Return Points Won 19/69 (28%) 15/78 (19%)
2nd Return Points Won 13/39 (33%) 18/31 (58%)
Break Points Won 1/4 (25%) 2/5 (40%)
Return Games Played 17 16
Net Points Won 23/37 9/11
Winners 46 31
Unforced Errors 35 21
Total Service Points Won 76/109 (70%) 76/108 (70%)
Total Return Points Won 32/108 (30%) 33/109 (30%)
Total Points Won 108/217 (50%) 109/217 (50%)

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Halle Kohlschreiber 2015

Where to start with this one huh? Too close for comfort you might say but in the end a very important win for Federer. It reminded me a bit of last year's opening Halle match with Sousa which went to the wire and also had some similarities with the match against Mayer in Shanghai. Had Kohlschreiber showed a little more composure in the breaker he could have quite easily run away the winner but Roger held his nerve and used his first serve to keep him in it before crossing the finish line.

After playing pretty good in the first set (barring the failure to consolidate the break) I thought Fed's level dropped just a tad but that was partly down to Kohlschreiber really finding the range on his forehand and starting to dictate more points. The German played the better stuff in sets 2 and 3, and although Roger had 2 chances to seal it at 5-4, Kohlschreiber will be pretty annoyed with himself to lose the tie break from 5-4 up with 2 serves to win it. I guess that's why he hasn't beaten a top 10 player since Gasquet in Rotterdam 2014 and the same reason he couldn't put Murray away in Munich last month despite having chances.

As for Roger well not vintage but he gets the job done and wins his first match on grass of the year which is always an important milestone. I don't think he played poorly either, bit scrappy in some areas (2nd serve points won is pretty feeble) and some tentative movement caused by several slips, but he was facing a guy that is former top 20 material and whom he played in the final here in 2008; that's definitely not an easy first round opponent coming in off a 3 month clay stretch.

Anyway Fed's next match will be on Wednesday against either Gulbis or Stakhovsky and I think we'll know more about his grass form after that one is done and dusted.

Predictions vs. Gulbis

Federer Gulbis French Open 2014

Next up is Gulbis who defeated Stakhovsky in straight sets yesterday. Gulbis has had a torrid year so far winning only 3 matches and I can't see things getting much better for him later today.

His game has drifted off in the last 12 months or so and he's dropped from a career high 10 to 86 in the world. He of course has 2 wins against Roger, notably as last years French Open, and has some pedigree on grass taking out Berdych at Wimbledon in 2012 and Tsonga in 2013 but those are his only results of note on this surface and I expect Fed to win comfortably in straight sets. Fed in 2; 6-2 6-4.


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. Hi jonThan that was closer than i would have liked but hopefully next round will not be quite so stressful for fed or his fans. Never seen him end up on the deck 3 times in a match hopefully that will not happen next round either. He is still in it so can still win it. Allez Roger and am i 2nd

    1. Should be fine if he plays when the suns out and the court is a little more worn. Will have been damp at that time of night on an overcast day.

  2. Phew, as you say Jonathan! I think we’d all have liked a more comfortable match, but then we all said it would be a tough first match, particularly as Kohli had a few grass matches under his belt also. Second serve points won is certainly a percentage which I hope improves; surprisingly low I thought. ๐Ÿ™ But like you said, change from long clay season to grass isn’t easy. Heart rate has now subsided. The next one should be much easier I hope. Go Feds! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yeah surprised it was low behind the second serve, guess just one of those days. Lucky he landed some pretty special first serves at key moments, pretty much every time he needed to.

      1. I thought his return was missing some. Wasn’t strong behind his own 2nd serve and was very poor returning Kohli’s 2nd (just winning 33 %)

  3. Late again

    Thanks for the post Jonathan, superb!

    What a nail biting match!
    While serve is good, what is wrong with forehand and volley?
    And the court seems to be too slippery, not only because federer fell couple times, but both player seems to run too careful and missed couple of shot/not be able to get the ball due to that

    Anyway, glad to be back to grass, when the hitting time between two players is not 3000 seconds.

    1. Agreed forehand did not look good, not the potent weapon it needs to be. Those off forehands were missing by a long way. Serve kept him in it really. Time to lift some weights I think.

  4. Agree with all u say Jonathan altho my shot of the match was the one he played whilst on his bottom on the grass! Pity he didn’t win the point!
    Terrible court, but I say that every yr about Halle! Groundsmen hv no idea! Always too soft, lumpy and not rolled enough! Plus Cedric Bloody Mourier being totally inconsistent in the chair! Fed shld hv had both those service points, shld not hv been replayed and the late out challenge from Kohlscribbler shld hv been replayed… Poor umpiring but Rog shld not hv lost the plot…
    Biggest area of concern was poor returning off Kohlscribbler’s second serve, but for first outing on grass, good tough test where mentally he hung tough on with clutch serving… Gulbis or Stakhs next… U cldnt make it up… At least he has the day off to get some new shoes!! allez!

    1. Fed got bad blood with umpires who allow late challenges, Mourier should’ve known better ๐Ÿ˜›

      1. Yeah, how could we forget Jake Garner at the USO?! ‘I don’t give a shit what he said. Don’t f***ing tell me he rules’. Hahaha…Cedric Mourier got off lightly. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. They were slipping a lot at Queens Sue, and they say that court is perfect. I think the court is fine, 2 things make a difference: the roof which casts a shadow for most of the day, and playing later with the sun virtually gone the grass starts to get a bit more damp. But it is unusual to see Feds slip several times, normally he’s pretty sure-footed.

    3. Yeah I’m with Slamdunk, I don’t think footwear choice is the reason for the slips, used the same type of soles he always uses on grass. It was an overcast evening in the shade, bound to be slippy and damp.

      I don’t think the court is bad either, I saw it close up when I went and it looked in good condition. Would Fed play a tournament that had a terrible court? He’s never mentioned it being poor either, don’t think I’ve seen it openly criticised by players like they have done in Rome, Madrid etc.

      Fed’s returning always cause for concern but don’t understimate Kohlschreibers second serve – I’m pretty sure he was leading the leaderboard for 2nd serve points won for a large part of last year.

      1. Roger said in his interview afterwards that the court was more Wimbledon-like than usual, rather than Halle-like. He also said that it might have something to do with it that he wasn’t used to playing on day 1, but previously it would have been Weds or Thurs, so it was perhaps simply that he wasn’t used to it.

    1. Part time fan ๐Ÿ˜›

      Is Queen’s good? I’ve had tickets available a couple of times but not bothered going. Looks like a drop in tournament for toffs to enjoy drinking Champagne out of plastic cups wearing coloured corduroys thinking they’re something special whilst slating the riff raff that turned up from outside the M25 ring.

      Like a wise man once said, cool people go to Halle ๐Ÿ˜†

      1. Sounds like Monte-Carlo to me, though linen pants and dress instead of corduroys :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

      2. Queen’s was incredibly badly organised on Monday: selling ground passes, but with only a single doubles match on outside courts. Plus lousy scheduling of the other matches led to a long period of nothing happening on Court 1. I hope it’s not usually like that, but I’d never been before.

  5. A very good win indeed – it was a quality match. Kohlshreiber played really well and still Roger dealt him with a back-hander ๐Ÿ™‚ ! Roger slipped twice with a few routine shots/volleys going long but apart from that, Roger played reasonably well. I thought this was going to be a tough match and it turned to be just that, as Kohlshreiber has always played well at Halle. I don’t believe that the next match will be as tough as this one.
    Well one down four to go!
    Allez Rog!

  6. This heart-wrecking match nearly killed me! Though plenty of amazing points from both guys so it was somewhat entertaining. Gets the job done as you said, thanks for the recap Jonathan.
    His shoes were for the grass, right? Never seen Fed slipped multiple times in a match.

  7. Found it interesting that Roger actually said both of them were unhappy about the draw – it’s been a while, but both of them are past champions at this event, so really unfortunate they had to meet in the first round. Really seemed like Roger had a hard time finding his range esp off the forehand; After the 1st set, I had wished for his 1st serve % to improve, and it did, but a lesson to me that that’s not enough if other parts of your game go AWOL!

    I think Roger always has a harder time against his friends; they’re a similar age, both native German speakers, and he said they often practice together. Twitter was saying Kohli choked, but I really didn’t see that; thought he did well to stay with Fed in spite of the massively disadvantageous h2h.

    Agree with comments about fixing the shoes, something is not right there. Let’s also hope for better officiating; Mourier should know better. On the other other hand he demonstrated at the infamous sf at last year’s WTF that he sometimes doesn’t see what’s under his nose, and sometimes gives himself greater importance than he ought. Wouldn’t it be cool if ATP instituted a “chair umpire refresher course suggestion box” – Mourier is my nominee.

    1. Kohli definitely threw it away, he had the match on his serve in the breaker and then played 2 poor shots at 5-4. He knew it too, almost trashed his racquet.

      Dunno about Fed struggling against his friends, Kohli had only ever won 1 set in previous meetings. Stan, Haas’s record all equally poor. So more often than not in seems a walk in the park for him. Might not be fun for him duffing up his friends all the time but doesn’t seem very difficult for him ๐Ÿ˜†

      Shoes are fine I think – they’re the same pimple soles as always, reason for slips are because it’s a new court and was covered in the shade on a late evening, going to get damp and slippy. Part and parcel of the grass court tennis.

      1. As usual, you make good points ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Wasn’t thinking about time of day, of course that would affect conditions. Still very disconcerting to see him go down.

  8. Well it was quite a day filled with heart attacks, first the Game of Thrones finale and then this match! Feel for Kohli of course, seems the guy just can’t get it done against Roger. Fed himself has said that slipping and falling was a huge reason as to why he didn’t feel confident at parts- kind of like against Simon in RG 2013. I see his vacation with Mourier is over as well- but maybe another one to come after this? Poor decision making. Believed that results at Halle wouldn’t be indicative of what was to come at Wimbledon but getting out in the first round would’ve been a disaster. Second serve stats not looking great so hope to get more pop on that as we move forward. Allez!

    1. Worst. Season. Finale. Ever.

      Pretty bad season, now that we’re on the topic. Save for 2 and a half episodes.

      1. Yeah GoT been testing my patience for a while now and it seems it’s following almost every mainstream television show in that the quality dips towards the end of its run. Sad really.

    2. You don’t watch that shit do you? It’s the perfect example of a mediocre show with run of the mill actors that has been well marketed, gained some traction and now everyone feels obliged to like it ๐Ÿ˜†

      Where did you see quotes of him talking about slipping Alysha? Not seen it…

      1. You not a fan J? I’ve been following it from the very beginning, Have any other suggestions?

        Any those quotes are in the interview transcript on the tournament website.

      2. I’ve only seen clips and it didn’t appeal. Then I heard every man and his dog talking about as though it’s gripping; so I know for sure it’s going to be terrible ๐Ÿ™‚

        No recommendations from me either; I don’t watch any TV shows to be honest, not really got time. The last show I sort of watched religiously was Prison Break about 10 years ago and even then I bailed long before it finished as it got stupid. Not touched any since. Band of Brothers maybe but I think that was even before Prison Break.

        Just watch films so I can recommend plenty of them…

      3. Didn’t Federer say Prison Break was one of his favourite tv shows of all time during one of his last #askRF sessions on Twitter? ๐Ÿ™‚

      4. Haven’t seen?

        Wonder if he watched it through to the end? It started off great but by the end of it with that Scylla thing it was just getting very far fetched; didn’t seem worth the effort to download them. I think it changed from Channel 5 here in the UK to Sky too midway through which also stopped me watching it as much.

      5. He did.

        Agreed Prison Break was good only for the first season now that I think about it.

        Walking Dead FTW… Anyone?

      6. Hi…. Game of thrones is okay, should really be called ” Game of Medieval sexploitation” as half of the story is all about nudity and sex and for the ladies tbey have Jason Momoa and a few other guys flexing their muscles. Also there was a pretty major showbiz story as the producers wanted to hire Lily Allen for the show. And they wanted todo a sstory of brother and sister sex scenes. But the brother of the on screen would of been in fact her real life brother so lily Allen would be playing a incestuous story both on and off the screen. But good for Lily Allen she said no straight away as she said I ain’t gonna be kissing be brother. No way. Just shows you how sick the Film/tv Hollywood media is. But there are a lot of up coming stars and high level celebrities that have done alot of sick acts as part of the initiation process of joining a secret brotherhood free masonry society for fame and fortune. Believe it or not one of the acts in joining for the millions is to actually eat human and animal faeces. ( No joke plus all kinds of unspeakable things which I am not going to mention) . Apologies for the explanations of celebrity contract for fame and fortune.
        For Jonathan Prison Break season 1 was good. But I really liked Dracula series with Jonathan Ryce Meyers. But I think they have cancelled the series now. Which isa sshame really enjoyed that plus the UK tv series of Tudors and Rome. And Spartacus series which is finished which also was another sex orgy programme as half of it very unessasarry as the story was good with so much betrayals, lies, killings, affairs etc etc. And the series what Gauravs mentioned that too is acool viewing.

  9. Interesting, Kohlshreiber won 109-108 on points, and lost the match. Fed dodged a bullet.

    1. I saw that too Sid. Totally agree.

      I thought Koli played the better of the two on balance. Was almost sad for him…but not quite enough room in my tennis heart when one is playing Fed.

      Could not believe the errors Rog was making. Had about 4 heart attacks watching this one.

    2. Fed should have won it at 5-4 with 2MP in which case he’d probably have been +ve in the total points won count, but then Kohli should have won the tiebreak.

  10. He won and technically that’s all that matters, but please don’t play such a dramatic match in Rd 2. My nerves can’t take it.

  11. At the beginning of the match the commies on TennisTV said this was the first time Fed has played on this court this year…his practices had all been on different courts. That might have made a little difference…maybe not.

    I had resigned myself to Fed losing and actuallly turned off the feed before the end of the second set…thinking Federer was going to lose….I know!!!! But I peeked again at the scores and started watching again at 1 – 1 in the third. Glad I didn’t totally give up on our man. A win is a win! Go Fed!

      1. Yes, I am berating myself for my temporary loss of faith. But I am back all the way now!

  12. I am worried for Fed, rarely see him fall and this match 3x!! Hope there is no lingering injury and he is fresh against Gulbis. Kohli gave away the match when Roger was not at his best, nonetheless is a W for him and hope he draw positives from it.

  13. I planned to do this for years now, and because of the Nadal match of today against Dolgopolov I finally did it: time all his serves. See my tweets as @markcoutinho13 for the results, which probably won’t surprise you.
    Fed’s time is somewhere around 14 seconds before first serves…

    1. The tweets contain images, that’s why I didn’t post it here. I’ll try to find another way to share the info with you. Probably I the next post by Jonathan.

  14. Hi all….first of all nice one Jonathan for your hard work and match posts including all your other posts tennis related. Cool mate ๐Ÿ™‚ . Much appreciated. Cheers.
    Anyway regarding this match I checking on live flashscores. So during checking I too was getting annoyed and thought at o e point Federer may have lost it. But I was really pleased and happy that he got the w. Hopefully now he raise his level each round. But obviously one match at a time. He should be comfortable against E Gulbis on grass. So hoping for a non drama straight sets win for Federer. Please. Please . Please win this tournament and Wimbledon for double 8 titles each. Fingers crossed and everything else for that matter!!!!
    On another subject has any one seen the new Arthur Ashe stadium at the US open with the steel template for the retractable roof they are putting in for $500 million. Me personally I think it looks pretty cool plus similar steel griders like wimby. But the roof at AA is like double the size of wimby. But the pictures that I have seen so far looks impressive and cool. But they have not said if they are going to put a roof on Louis Armstrong yet , but they have nearly completed court Grandstand. 2016 if I can remember they said should be the completion date but because of the snowy cold winter they are having has caused a few problems. Looking at it its about time. Better late than never. Especially with all those years like Wimbledon when rain stops play. Here in uk back in the days they used to show the epic tie break or the full highlights of Borg v McEnroe 1980 match. Or one year they had Cliff Richards singing during the rain which was quite cheesy but funny and cool at the same time. Unfortunately now no more re runs which is a shame as British weather is predictable with rain and showers to stop play. But with the roof no more drama I suppose. So I will have to go with the times. Gooo retractable rooooofffff !!!!! Lol

    1. Ps One good thing that happened when the rain came and disrupted the 2012 final between Fed and Muzza. By the time the roof was put on, that 20/30 minutes gave enough time to regroup, change his strategy as wind, rain and colder outdoor temperature was no longer a factor. The rest they say is history.
      Regarding this year’s Halle I really hope he can defend his crown and then take all of the positives and confidence to the big one. Seeing how close he was last year I have a funny feeling that this year its going to be Federers year. I still Be18eve. Come onRRoger at Halle . U can do it. Allez Swiss.

      1. Serajul, what do you mean about the 2012 final? Roger had just grabbed the second set off Murray, and I think had broken him at the beginning of the third. That really wasn’t a good moment for an interruption in play, at least from Roger’s point of view.

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