HAMBURG, July 12, 2016
The dream of an all-German-final between Philipp Kohlschreiber and Alexander Zverev at the German Tennis Championships in Hamburg has come to an early end. The tournament’s top seed fought past Carlos Berlocq in a match that went the distance, wheras the youngster fell to Inigo Cervantes in straight sets on Tuesday.
Kohlschreiber, who has been the unheralded flagbearer for German men’s tennis in recent years, is still looking to continue his outstanding play on home soil. The 32-year-old from Augsburg has won five of his seven career titles in Germany but none of them in Hamburg. Kohlschreiber opened his title bid with a 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 over the Argentine veteran. The world number 22 lost his serve only once and capitalized on five of his 19 break point chances to prevail in two hours and 36 minutes.
“I’m very happy or calm because I can still raise my game,” told Kohlschreiber afterwards, facing Nicolas Kicker next.
Following quickly in Kohlschreiber’s footsteps is the 19-year-old Zverev, who leads all Next Generation players with 29 wins in 2016. Zverev’s breakout season has featured his first two finals at Nice and Halle, third-round runs at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, a victory over world number three Roger Federer and 13 straight tournaments with at least one win.
At his home tournament on Tuesday, however, the Hamburg native produced too many unforced errors and had with the in-form Spaniard a difficult opponent in the opening round. Cervantes finished runner-up at the ATP Challenger tournament in Braunschweig last Saturday, sent down nine aces and capitalized on five of his seven break point opportunities to seal victory in one hour and 40 minutes.
The teenager said he again felt embraced by the home fans. “The spectators here are always very, very good to me. I feel very comfortable playing here,” Zverev stated.
Cervantes will take on Stephane Robert. The French veteran defeated 2014 Hamburg champion Leonardo Mayer 7-6, 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes
Second seed Benoit Paire also fell in the first round, losing 5-7, 6-3, 4-6 to Daniel Gimeno-Traver. The 30-year-old from Spain, who entered the main draw as last direct acceptance, won 51% of the total points to advance in two hoursa and nine minutes. Gimeno-Traver will next play Daniil Medvedev. The Russian qualifier overcame Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
Elsewhere, unranked Louis Wessels with $686 career earnings caused the upset of the day, rallying 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 against Canadian qualifier Steven Diez. The 17-year-old German, who entered the main draw with a wild card and appeared in his first tour level match, won 72% of his first service points to finish the encounter in one hour and 44 minutes.
“I don’t know how to describe it today. I’m feeling really good. I played an amazing match. The best match of my life. I actually don’t know what to say. First ATP tournament at a 500 in Germany. As a German player, everyone was for me. It was an amazing feeling,” said Wessels, who has become the only third player born in 1998 with an ATP match win in 2016 after Stefan Kozlov and Frances Tiafoe.
“I have to say I was not that nervous. I was thinking about it yesterday. I was playing on grass two days ago. I came from Wimbledon at two o’clock in the morning on Sunday and played one and a half days on clay. It’s the best feeling I could have today.”
Wessels will square off with seventh seed Martin Klizan next. The world number 48 from Slovakia ousted Igor Sijsling 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.