MARRAKECH, April 11, 2018
There is this one particular week in the year when Moroccan tennis legend Lamine Ouahab is playing at his best. This normally happens during the Grand Prix Hassan II, the lone ATP World Tour event held in Africa. The 33-year-old reached the quarterfinals on home soil in 2015 and is playing this week in his first ATP World Tour main draw since here two years ago.
Ouahab, who hasn’t played an ATP Challenger main draw match since September 2016 either and dropped to World No. 617 in the ATP rankings, knocked out the tournament’s No. 3 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, 2-6, 6-0, 7-6(3) to make the second round in Marrakech. The German came in after falling in a fifth and decisive match to David Ferrer 7-5 in the fifth set in Sunday’s Davis Cup quarterfinal tie in Valencia.
Under those circumstances facing the tricky game of Ouahab can be a tough task. Ouahab, who was born in Algeria and lives in Spain, being fluent in four languages, broke Kohlschreiber’s serve four times and won six points more than his opponent to secure victory in one hour and 35 minutes.
The miracle of Marrakech 😱
From 2-5 down in the third set, Morocco’s World No. 617 Lamine Ouahab STUNS No. 34 Philipp Kohlschreiber… pic.twitter.com/4JOAoFbP84
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 11. April 2018
“You need to play until the last point, fighting until the end of the match,” Ouahab said afterwards. “I was a bit unlucky in the opening set but tried to come back all the time. In the third set, Philipp played better and I had to catch up with the score. In the end the match has gone either way.”
Next up for the veteran will be Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia. Let’s see how far he can get this time.