Kudla Returns To Winning Ways In Munich Debut

Denis Kudla

MUNICH, April 30, 2019

Denis Kudla has found match wins extremely difficult to come by this season. The 26-year-old US-American picked up just three in his 10 tournaments in 2019, entering the BMW Open by FWU on a five-match losing streak.

On Tuesday afternoon, however, Kudla edged out No. 5 seeded Briton Kyle Edmund, winning 6-4, 6-3 in the pair’s first meeting. Kudla showed an impressive performance in his Munich debut, breaking his opponent’s serve three times. The current World No. 82, who reached a career-high mark of 53rd in May 2016, prevailed after one hour and seven minutes.

“I served amazingly, something I had struggled with lately. I haven’t had the best year so far but I know that I’m playing well at practice. It’s all about converting it into the matches. Today I did a great job,” Kudla told Tennis TourTalk afterwards.

“I know that this isn’t Kyle’s favourite surface but it’s quicker here with the altitude and there was no wind, nothing. The ball actually moves quickly and we didn’t have long rallies. We had kind of a fast game instead of a typical clay-court match.”

Kudla’s only match wins this year have come in the first rounds in Brisbane, the Australian Open and Dubai. “This happens sometimes. It’s part of the tennis and I’m used to it. I know what to do. It’s more of a mental thing, as all of the players on the tour can play well. The margins are so small. Today, I am just happy with the win and I wanna build on it,” said Kudla, who hopes to break into the top 20 one day. He also seems to feel comfortable on German soil.

“I love Munich. I lived here when I was younger. My parents moved to Munich when I was one year old. It was last second before I went to the States. It’s nice to be here, kinda see what could have been. I love Germany. I had some great results here in this country and I love coming back.” Kudla made it to the semi-finals in Halle, Westphalia last year, falling to Roger Federer. Here in Munich, he will next face in-form Matteo Berrettini of Italy, who clinched his second tour-level crown in Budapest last Sunday.

“It will be a battle. He is an incredible player. He just won a title, so his confidence is high but I look forward to the challenge,” Kudla commented on his upcoming opponent. The Arlington, Virginia, resident emerged victorious from the last meeting with Berrettini at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February. It was Kudla’s last match win before his good start in Munich.

Kohlschreiber right at home

Earlier in the day, local favourite Philipp Kohlschreiber opened his BMW Open campaign with a comfortable 6-2, 7-5 win against Italian Andreas Seppi.

The 35-year-old German, the oldest player in the draw, saved the only break point he faced, capitalizing on three of his own four chances to advance in one hour and 20 minutes. Kohlschreiber has heavy championship experience in Munich, winning the tournament in 2007, 2012 and 2016.

“I played a solid match,”  Kohlschreiber, said, pleased with his performance.  “I feel physically good and I know that I can beat anyone here in Munich.” The World No. 41, who made his BMW Open debut back in 2002, will next face the tournamen’s No. 2 Karen Khachanov of Russia. “He’s a very aggressive player,” Kohlschreiber said of his opponent in the second round.

Struff falls

In-form Jan-Lennard Struff, who advanced to the quarterfinals at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell last week before falling to Rafael Nadal after a tough battle, lost in the opening round to Brazilian qualifier Thiago Monteiro. The 24-year-old from Fortaleza cruised past the World No. 48 from Germany, winning 6-1, 6-1 in only 51 minutes.

“This result doesnt’ feel good. It hurts,” Struff said in his post-match press conference. “I actually felt well-prepared but my opponent played really well and I couldn’t find the right way to challenge him.”

Struff, who recently became a father, explained that his new role as a dad didn’t have an influence on the outcome of the match. “The family is here with me but I had my own room and slept well. I felt rested,” the Warstein native said. Struff will fly home on Wednesday before heading to Madrid on Thursday or Friday. Monteiro will next take on No. 8 seed Marton Fucsovics of Hungary.

Munich moments

• Munich’s top two seeds, Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov, were out for a practice session. Zverev will start his attempt to pull off a hat-trick of titles at the BMW Open against Juan-Ignacio Londero. The World No. 80 from Argentina edged past wild card entry Maximilian Marterer from Germany 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

• No. 6 seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman earned his first win in Munich, beating Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 to reach the second round. He will next take on fellow-South American Christian Garin of Chile, who defeated German qualifier Yannick Maden 6-4, 6-2.

• Teenager Rudolf Molleker celebrated his third win on the ATP Tour. The 18-year-old German, who entered the main draw with a wild card, fought past Marius Copil from Romania, 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 in the final match of the day. Next up will be No. 4 seed Roberto Bautista Agut from Spain.

Photo Gallery (by Florian Heer)