MUNICH, May 2, 2017
Philipp Kohlschreiber was one five Germans in first round action on a sunny Tuesday at the BMW Open by FWU. The fifth seed from Augsburg opened his title bid with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Norwegian youngster and wild card Casper Ruud.
The only 18-year-old from Oslo had the better start, gaining a 3-0 lead but the longer the match lasted the more solid became Kohlschreiber’s game. The defending champion won 78 per cent of his first service games and converted four of his 11 break point chances to eventually secure victory in 67 minutes with a forehand cross court winner.
“I think it was a solid win in the end. I started to control the match after trailing 3-0. From then on, I was calmer on the court and capitalized on my chances,” Kohlschreiber was pleased with his performance.
Ruud is the youngest player in this year’s draw and has come to Munich in a career high World No. 118. He captured his maiden trophy on the ATP Challenger Tour in Sevilla last year and advanced to his first ATP World Tour semi-final in Rio de Janeiro in February.
“I didn’t know what to expect from him. I only saw a bit of his match in Barcelona last week but my coach did good work and prepared myself the best possible way.
“He had nothing to lose and I am the defending champion, playing in front of my home crowd. This fact makes it a bit tricky at the beginning of a tournament.”
Kohlschreiber also paid respect to the teenager’s performance.
“He is a very good player with a good drive in his forehand. Of course, there are still things to improve at his age, but he fought a lot and I think he will have a good career.”
Next up for Kohlschreiber will be Horacio Zeballos. The 32-year-old Argentine rallies past Andreas Seppi from Italy, winning 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. Zeballos won 71 per cent of his first service points and 94 of the total 177 points played to advance in two hours and nine minutes.
Crowd pleaser of the day was the first meeting at tour-level between Mischa Zverev and Dustin Brown. Spectators on centre court could enjoy a couple of exciting shots, including serve and volley, chip and charge as well as lobs and tweeners. It was Zverev, who eventually emerged victorious, winning 6-4, 6-7, 6-3.
The 29-year-old Moscow native broke serve four times to celebrate his first clay court match win of the season after one hour and 40 minutes. Zverev also broke a five-match losing streak since reaching the second round at the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells in March.
“It was an exhausting match with a couple of ups and downs,” Zverev told afterwards. “I haven’t come to Munich with a lot of confidence, as the clay court season is always difficult for me and my game. Australia showed me that I can compete at highest level, but conditions were perfect for me there. Here I need to change a lot of my game style.”
Zverev’s serve and volley performances down under, which has become more than rare on the tour, were well appreciated by the international media.
“You feel a bit lonely on the tour with that kind of game style,” Zverev explained with a smile. “So, it does feel good to get some nice feedback. I was also a bit proud of.”
Zverev will next take on 2014 BMW Open champion Martin Klizan from Slovakia, who defeated Nicolas Kicker of Argentina 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 50 minutes.
Top ranked Gael Monfils, who is playing his first tournament since the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells and withdrew from the following events in Miami and Monte-Carlo due to left knee and Achilles tendon injuries, will open his Munich title quest against Hyeon Chung.
The 20-year-old from Korea denied Maximilian Marterer‘s seventh attempt to win a match at ATP World Tour level. Chung, who is making his tournament debut, withstood 10 aces, hitting four of his own to prevail after two hours and 17 minutes.
The tournament’s number two Roberto Bautista-Agut will play Marius Copil in the second round. The 26-year-old from Romania edged past Brazilian youngster Thiago Monteiro, rallying 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. The encounter lasted almost two hours.
Alexander Zverev, third seed in Munich, will open his campaign on home soil against Jeremy Chardy. The Frenchman beat Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik 6-2, 6-4 in 66 minutes.