Already in the first match on the Centre Court of Tuesday’s MercedesCup, the fans were treated to a big – but not pleasant – surprise: local hero Philipp Kohlschreiber – ATP no. 22, seeded 5 in Stuttgart – was ousted by Denis Istomin from Uzbekistan, who is ranked 80 places behind Kohlschreiber, in two close sets 6-7(2), 6-7(3).
“My problem was his serve and that I wasn’t able to get any rhythm.” While the man from Uzbekistan had six break points over the match (which were all saved by the German), Kohlschreiber himself didn’t have a single chance to break his opponent’s serve. Both sets were decided in the tie-break. Both times the better server easily kept the upper hand – Kohlschreiber only made two points in the first and three points in the second tie-break. “I played the tie-breaks really, really bad”, said Kohlschreiber dejectedly.
All in all, “Kohli” is not satisfied with his change from clay to grass. “You have to move differently, the game itself completely changes on grass. The rallies are so short and quickly over, it just doesn’t play to my strengths. I never had a good feeling how to play my game.”
Other favorites in the first round had less problems dispatching their opponents on the side courts: Marton Fucsovics from Hungary beat American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-4, while Frenchman Gilles Simon made short work of Italian qualifier Matteo Viola 6-0, 6-3.