GERRY WEBER OPEN 2011
Kohlschreiber Captures Third Title
by ATP Staff|
World No. 49 Philipp Kohlschreiber captured his third ATP World Tour title on Sunday, and his second on home soil, as he defeated Philipp Petzschner in an all-German final at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. Kohlschreiber had been leading 7-6(5), 2-0 when Petzschner was forced to retire with a lower back injury.
Victory this week marked a turnaround in fortunes for the 27-year-old Kohlschreiber, who went into Halle with a 15-14 match record on the season and just two quarter-final showings. The Augsburg native found his form on the grass, ousting defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the quarter-finals before toppling No. 3 seed Gael Monfils in the semi-finals.
"I think it was a fantastic week," said Kohlschreiber. "Every day I played a great match. Of course, the final ended quite short, but overall the week was great and to win in Germany is fantastic.
"It ended so quickly. So I wasn’t really feeling like a winner, but it was the best time for a victory. As you could see before, I really worked hard here, I tried to play good tennis here. It hasn’t worked that well this year until now. I never had a real success, so the win came in the right moment for me."
A disappointed Petzschner said, "This was a day to celebrate German tennis. I don’t think it would have been a problem for me had I lost in a tight match, I would have been proud of my performance. But to give up such a final, and then here, that’s incredibly bitter."
Kohlschreiber created the only break point chance in the first set at 5-5, but was unable to convert in a set that was dominated by strong serving performances by both players. In the deciding tie-break, Kohlschreiber established a 6-4 lead and converted his second set point as Petzschner committed a rare backhand unforced error.
However, the No. 71-ranked Petzschner was troubled by a lower back injury and received treatment at the end of the first set. The 27 year old attempted to carry on in the second set, but after going down an early break of serve, was forced to concede.
"I felt kind of nervous playing another German in the final and I knew he’d played a great week as well," reflected Kohlschreiber. "I knew what was coming. He was serving big, so I didn’t have so many chances, but I started to push up my level at the end of the first set and played some really good points in the tie-break. It was very important to win the first set, then maybe the early break and his injury forced him to stop earlier than if he had won the first set maybe."
As victor of the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament, Kohlschreiber received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €114,750 in prize money. It is the first time the right-hander has triumphed at the Gerry Weber Stadion, having finished runner-up to Roger Federer in the 2008 final.
His first two ATP World Tour titles came on clay in Munich (d. Youzhny) four years ago, and on hard court in Auckland (d. Ferrero) in 2008. He improved to a 3-6 record in ATP World Tour finals.
Former World No. 35 Petzschner was looking to win his second ATP World Tour title, adding to the trophy he won indoors in Vienna (d. Monfils) three years ago. Like Kohlschreiber, the Bayreuth had also struggled to find his best form in the first five months of the season, with his best result a semi-final showing in Munich (l. to Mayer). This week he had beaten No. 8 seed Milos Raonic and 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych to reach the final.
"Both of us played solid tennis, we both served really well," described Petzschner. "And then out of the blue I’m serving and I notice that something is wrong. The more balls I hit the more obvious it became that I couldn’t finish the match like this. Not on a normal level anyway, I could have just stood in court, but that doesn’t make any sense. Maybe I would have really hurt myself then, or something really bad happens that costs me another eight or 10 weeks."