GERRY WEBER OPEN 2012
Nadal Wins Halle Opener; Kohlschreiber Up Next
by ATP Staff|
“At the beginning, it was more difficult to return. I tried to put more balls inside, trying to return with a bit of slice. That put me into a bit more of a rhythm,” said Nadal. “In the second set, I played with [fewer] mistakes, which is the most important thing. I'm happy. Every match here is very dangerous after playing on clay for two and a half months. Tomorrow will be another tough match.”
Nadal, returning to Halle for the first time in seven years after a first-round exit to Alexander Waske in 2005, won eight of the final nine games against Lacko to prevail in 76 minutes, improving to 4-0 against the Slovakian.
The 26-year-old Nadal is riding a 13-match win streak, having defeated top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia and Roland Garros. Nadal's triumph over Djokovic on Monday saw the Spaniard clinch a record-breaking seventh trophy on Parisian clay.
“I'm very happy to be in Halle after a long time without coming here,” Nadal said. “For me, it's always special to be back in a place where I haven't been in quite for a while.”
In the quarter-finals, Nadal will clash with reigning champion Philipp Kohlschreiber. The eighth-seeded German defeated Lukasz Kubot 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-3, winning 77 per cent of his service points and firing 11 aces. He broke Kubot four times to lock up the victory in two hours and four minutes.
“I could have won the first set but he took his chances. I also think that he didn’t play on the same level in the second and third set,” assessed Kohlschreiber. “He gave me an early break in the second which encouraged me. I always had the feeling that I was a hint better than he was. But that’s just a feeling. Sometimes you lose the first set and still think you are the better player. Fortunately, the feeling I had turned out to be true. As I said, I think he didn’t keep up his level.”
For the seventh time in eight appearances at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court event in Halle, where he holds a 21-6 record, Kohlschreiber is through to the last eight. This year, he captured the title in Munich (d. Cilic) and reached the semi-finals in Auckland (l. to Rochus) and Montpellier (l. to Berdych).