Roger Federer survived an early test against Philipp Kohlschreiber in a tricky opening round match at the 2015 Gerry Weber Open. The Swiss maestro was previously 17-1 in their 18 sets played, but the hometown German, a formidable opponent also with a one-handed backhand, would go the distance in Monday’s featured match. The 33-year-old Swiss and 7-time Halle champion managed to avoid letting the first set slip, as he went up a break only to be broken back. He then saved two set points to take the first set tiebreaker 7-6 (10-8).
Kohlschreiber stayed even in the second set as well, but at 3-4, Federer uncharacteristically strung together several minutes of loose play, and the German made the most of it, winning just his second set against the 17-time grand slam champion.
Federer managed to hold serve and stay in front in the final set, but Kohlschreiber wouldn’t go down without a fight. The 2011 Gerry Weber Open champion himself, the German saved two match points and forced a decisive tiebreak. Up a mini-break at 4-2 and 5-3, it appeared that the Swiss would suffer his earliest loss at the grass court event since 2002. However, as he did earlier with hitting a shot while losing his footing and falling down and playing a behind the back forehand lob, Federer survived – most notably with a backhand slice which left Kohlschreiber frozen, wrong-footed at the middle of the baseline. Two points later, the German netted a forehand return and Federer escaped with a 7-6 (8) 3-6 7-6 (5) victory.
The Swiss served 14 aces but won only 47% of points on his second serve. He hit 46 winners to 35 unforced errors, winning 23/37 points at net while converting only one of four break point opportunities. Federer faces Ernests Gulbis or Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round.