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.
Watch coverage of the 2015 Gerry Weber Open (Halle) on FedFanTV.