HANNOVER, March 4, 2016
A dramatic Davis Cup Friday ends all-square in Hannover between Germany and the Czech Republic. Philipp Kohlschreiber overcame Lukas Rosol in five sets and in the match of the day 18-year-old Alexander Zverev pushed Tomas Berdych all the way on his Davis Cup debut but the world number seven emerged victorious.
Kohlschreiber won the first point for the Germans with a see-sawing 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 over Lukas Rosol. The world number 30 went into the opening rubber as the favourite having won four of his five previous matches with Rosol. But the Czech’s ability to swing freely was always going to ask questions of Kohlschreiber. The 32-year-old from Augsburg managed to break Rosol’s service in the seventh game of the final set, ripping an inside-out forehand onto the line to gain the decisive lead. Kohlschreiber closed the encounter after 177 minutes.
“My start into the match wasn’t the best. I was very nervous and he started very well but I managed to fight back. In the second and third set, I played really good tennis. There are always some weaker moments in five set matches, and he gained a break in the fourth set but in the fifth I rose my game to top-level and played a great finish,” Kohlschreiber said.
“He managed to hold his service pretty comfortably, which put a lot of pressure on my own service games. But in the end I think that the variety and the consistency in my game won today.”
Tomas Berdych leveled the tie at 1-1 after Day 1, winning 7-6, 1-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 against Alexander Zverev. Both players met three weeks ago at the Open 13 in Marseille with the Czech winning the match in three sets. The Davis Cup debutant from Germany battled hard in the opening set, missing one set point, but it was Berdych, who took the first-set tie-break 8-6. The German youngster took a quick comfort break during changeover and in the following ripped through the second set, winning 6-1. Berdych, however, fought back with a 7-5 win in the tiebreak of the fourth set taking the rubber the distance.
When the courtside clock ticked over four hours and neither of the two players have had a break point chance in the final set, Berdych suddenly conjured three of them and the German teenager handed him the vital break when he pushed the ball long in the seventh game. Zverev, who made 16 points more than his opponent, is no stranger to an upset, having beaten Marin Cilic in Montpellier and Gilles Simon in Rotterdam this season but the world number seven served out after four hours and 20 minutes.
“It was a very tough match against a great opponent,” Berdych told after the encounter. “Germany can be proud to have such a talented young guy. For me it was a difficult match, but I tried to the help the team to get on the board on Friday. I kept fighting until the end and it helped. It was a great expample of being there until the last point.”
Zverev was understandably disappointed afterwards. “Of course it is bitter to lose, but the fans were amazing and helped me throughout the match.”