Kohlschreiber Keeps Cool, Backhands Roddick out of Australian Open
by Sean Randall | January 18th, 2008, 8:30 pm

Thanks to the magic of TiVo, I just got through watching a good chunk of the Andy Roddick-Phillipp Kolhschreiber thriller played Friday night at the Australian Open, which is the best match I’ve seen thus far in the event. ADHEREL

I have to say first, unbelievable effort by Kohlschreiber who won 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-7, 8-6 in 3-hours and 53-minutes.

Going into the match I thought the German had a decent chance to win either in three or four sets, but not really in five sets given Roddick’s history and his schoolyard bully mentality that he uses against lesser players not named Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Once Roddick secured the fourth set odds were that Kohls would slip up somewhere and feel the nerves in the fifth and fold, but to his credit he didn’t. Instead Kohls kept going for it with his laser groundies despite Roddick serving out of his ass.

Andy finished with a career-best 42 aces, three of which he angrily slammed in squashing consecutive ad-court match points while serving 4-5 in the fifth (one of which was 148mph I think). At that point, having lost three match points and another on a lost challenge, most players would have left demoralized and after getting so close, just not Kohls who maintained his composure and poise.

In final game of the match, Kohls broke Roddick with a screaming forehand return and a of couple sparkling passes. Minutes later the match was over on a Roddick error, and Philipp secured his first win over the American who exits Australia at the earliest stage since 2002.

Again, Kohls won this match, Andy did not give it to him. He took it. The guy played incredible, sustained a high level and showed no fear in the fifth. And he hit some of the hardest one handed backhand bee bees I’ve ever seen.
For Roddick his weaknesses were again exposed. While he continues to have one the best serves this sport has ever seen (how many guys on the tour come up with those three aces down match point like Roddick did? Amazing!), if you can get Roddick into a rally on a slow court you can turn the tables, especially if you have a lethal backhand like Philipp’s.

Time and time again we’ve seen Andy hit his backhand reply crosscourt, and in this case that very response goes right into Kolhschreiber’s preferred weapon of choice. That’s why I gave the German a chance in this match. Until Andy can make a serious impression with his backhand down the line shot, he’s going to keep struggling with guys like Kohlschrieber, Richard Gasquet, Tommy Haas and Roger Federer who can consistently fire winners off that backhand wing.

Kohlschreiber also made liberal use of an excellent dropshot, which I don’t recall him ever really missing. Again, a great tactic by the 24-year-old since Roddick was perched around the “Melbourne” lettering, which looks to be about four feet behind the baseline on Rod Laver.

And it didn’t hurt that Phil also enjoyed a monster serving night, nearly matching Roddick’s ace total through the first four sets and end with a career-high 32.

So hats off to Kohlschreiber.

As for the rest of the field today/tonight, Fed’s looking virtually unbeatable, and with my man Andy Murray long gone, Gasquet’s looking quite good. Novak Djokovic has been sharp, but untested really, though that will change today against Sam Queerey and in the next round against Marcos Bagdhatis, who I expect to beat Lleyton Hewitt. I could see Gonzo losing to Marin Cilic and even James Blake going down to Sebastien Grosjean, who’s never lost to the American.

On the women’s side it still looks like we are heading for Venus-Serena final.

I’ll go into a little more depth on both draws once the fourth round is fully set and the rain clears away. I hear there’s good money to be made if you do the opposite of what I pick!

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23 Comments for Kohlschreiber Keeps Cool, Backhands Roddick out of Australian Open

jane Says:

“…even James Blake going down to Sebastien Grosjean, who’s never lost to the American.”

He has now. Good for James. I hope he flies from here.

Gonza’s presently down 2 sets to 1 so you may be right about that one.

I hope you’re wrong about Venus v, Serena, that’s for sure.

jane Says:

Cilic is great; I think that’s the first I’ve seen him play. Wonder how he and Blake’ll match up.

Von Says:

Jane: I think Tipsy is doing great. I think the Blake/Cilic match is going to be fireworks. Can’t wait to see it.

jane Says:

Yep. Even though Tipsy is struggling here and there, he’s hanging in and fighting. I love his attitude. To him, it seems to be just another opponent across the net. He was like this at Wimbledon too: a scraper. And who wouldn’t love a guy that has Dostoevsky tattooed on his arm?

jane Says:

Now THAT was a match worth staying up for – thank you Yanko Tipsarevic for making me believe anything IS still possible in tennis.

Alaine Says:

Bud Collins, it’s time to retire. Your ditherings make you seem senile.

Von Says:

That’s what I call one of the classics. Well, Tipsy, I take my hat off to you. The Djoker gave him the best advice. Tipsy showed no fear. So Close and yet so far. I think there will be more drama, it’s not going to be easy 1, 2, 3, matches. Tipsy has done something great for the “I surrender” group. It can happen. Ya gotta believe!

Dr. Death Says:

Andy Roddick’s history of “great losses” continues. I did not know Roddick had any backhand.

jane Says:

“Bud Collins, it’s time to retire. Your ditherings make you seem senile.”

Alaine, I think Bud should stick to online or written commentary; his knowledge of the sport and its history are still valuable but he’s not good live. His comments last night seemed forced, like he was always trying to come up with a witty tagline or something.

But what a mouth-watering bunch of matches this tournament has begun to unveil. And some new players breaking through and shaking things up a little is always refreshing.

andrea Says:

Yikes. Andy Roddick seems to get worse and worse as he ages – get used to losing pal and try it gracefully for a change. Sorry folks, but he irritates me…

High five on Fed/Tip match. Still tired from staying up but totally worth it. Nail biter to the end. Solid play from the Serb; Fed looked a bit washed out at times. That being said, I don’t know how the guy trains to still look fresh after 4.5 hours when 99% of his matches are over in between 2-3 hours.

He might get Cilic in the quarters and they have never played against each other…should be a good one. i hope it’s Cilic over Blake against Fed.

Sean Randall Says:

What a crazy 24 hour period in tennis…Kohls, Federer and Hewitt marathons, plus the two upsets of Kuz and Chak and even a Blake comeback. I probably left something out. Really incredible.

Tip my hat to Hewitt, Blake and Federer. Terrific win for Lleyton, but I don’t see how he can get by Novak. Federer didn’t play his best, especially on the big points, but you have to credit Janko for really taking it to the Swiss. Blake-Cilic I think will be a pretty close affair. Let’s see how the young Croat handles the situation. We know Blake will be up/down so in some way it’s up to Cilic to take it.

Looks like “Fat Dave” is about to hit the exits. Ferrer looks sharp, but he really hasn’t played anyone worth a lick.

jane Says:

Maybe it was his back, but so much for Nalby – sheesh. I hope his year promises better things than that exit.

Von Says:


I think you should now is the right time to write your article that you put the reins on. It will be hotly debated. Even I will put my two cents worth in. My guy is history. But, yes, this tournament is an historic affair in many ways. Wow.

Von Says:


Sorry – mistake “think you should” s/b
“I think now is the right time …”

Sean Randall Says:

Von, not sure yet. Just a feeling I had at the start that Fed would go down, but couldn’t resolve on just who would deliver the blow. From what I’ve read and what I’ve seen sounds like Janko was that guy, but now that Fed’s cleared that hurdle he may indeed get through.

SG Says:

A bunch of great 5 setters! The Hewitt-Baggy match had more ups and downs than a yo-yo on a rollercoaster. They must have been up ’till like 4:30AM. Talk about demanding tennis. These two just laid it all on the line. It was tough to see Bagdhatis walk off in tears. Neither player deserved to lose this one. I hope Baggy will recognize that he and Hewitt put on a really great show and that, as Agassi would say, the really winner was the game of tennis. Bagdhatis has a huge heart and he is much more fit. I think there are other high moments for him that will come his way this year.

As for Roddick, his baseline shots have lost their sting. He wants to go to the net and keep the points short. Jimmy’s influence I think. But, in watching some of the match, he just seems to come in on these cream puff appraoch shots. He gets a short ball and hits the approach with so much topspin that the balls land near the service line. You give pros a look at passing shots when the approach shots land short and they will eat you alive. In one of my earlier blogs, I was saying that Andy might consider getting together with Agassi. I’d like to strike that. I think that Roddick may consider a guy like Robert Lansdorp (…if he’s still in the business). Lansdorp trained Sharapova, Sampras and Davenport. All these players hit throught the court really well. No excessive topspin. Maybe Roddick can learn to hit thru the ball better without having to make a radical technical change. His shots need to be more punishing. All the spinny junk he hits with isn’t working. With his serve, he could be a force if he just learned how to hit through the ball better.

Didn’t see the Fed-Tips match though it sounds like it was a barn-burner! Hard to figure what to take out of a match like this. With Federer, I tend to take the approach that what doesn’t kill him, makes him stronger. While losses do appear to affect Fed’s psyche a little, tight victories don’t seem to have carry over effects into the next match for him. I suspect that Fed will be sharper the rest of the way. This match may have been a wake up call for him. Then again, who knows?

As for James Blake, he plays the same mindless game that he always does. The fact that he won a match in 5 sets, coming from 2 sets to love down is, to me at least, a statistically expected result. Eventually, he’s gonna be on the right side of one of these things. He’s blown so many matches when being ahead. We’ll have to see. I’m not be big Blake fan one way or the other. At least he hits a nice one handed backhand. It seems this is still somewhat of a rarity in tennis today.

Von Says:


“A bunch of great 5 setters! The Hewitt-Baggy match had more ups and downs than a yo-yo on a rollercoaster.>’

Agree. If you want to see a yo-yo (to the 2nd exponent) match, you should have watched Khols/Nieminen match today. Kohls made 93 unforced errors. At one point in the 4th set, I saw a tear trickle down his face, he was in pain. He was lifeless. Some credit due to Roddick for softenening him up for Nieminem. Both Niem/Khols had a difficult time holding serve. Kohls looked like a different player. Gimelstob said that if Roddick was watching he would say why didn’t this happen in his match. What a fiasco.

Speaking of Roddick, I don’t know if you remember our blogs on him wherein I stated that Connors is not the right coach for him. It seems truer each time he plays and whenever Connors is around Roddick ssems to want to impress him and gets tight.

I agree with you Landsdorp would be good for Roddick. He needs to learn how to flatten out his shots and get away from leaving those balls just waiting to be hit. I still think Darren Cahill would be able to help him.

Blake made Grosjean look good. Grosjean is w-a-y past his hey day, but because of Blake’s game, Grosjean looked like a top 10 player. Absolutely, blows my mind. I am not a devoted fan of Blake’s.

The Fed-Tipsy match would be a DVD keeper. Tipsy showed no fear and took the match to Federer. Darren Cahill stated that’s what’s lacking in the players who play Fed they are afraid to take it to him. Well, Tipsy was not lacking in that respect. He deserves every ounce of respect and then some. Djokovic is not afraid either. He stated that his advice to Tipsy was not to go out with a white/I surrender flag. Smart youngman.

We’ll just have to see how the tournament unfolds. Nadal plays Nieminen in the Quarters and possibly Tsonga (who is presently playing Gasquet) or maybe Gasquet. It should be interesting to see what Rafa does.

Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“but now that Fed’s cleared that hurdle he may indeed get through.” A strong possibility. I think maybe you should wait until after the quarters, or maybe not ever.

Von Says:

Well, this was a very disappointing fourth round on Nadal’s part of the draw. Mathieu got broken in his first game of the firsr set. By the third game, the trainer came out and he had an injury timeout for his calf/back of knee. He lost the first set. In the second set he played a few games, went over to Nadal, said no mas, and shook his hand and walked off the court. The crowd sat there motionless, probably expecting to see something, maybe another match. No mas. The curtain went down, and lights out. What a nice gift from Mathieu. I expected to see a great match and now I can’t go to sleep.

Nadal next plays Nieminen who has never won a match against him. That being the case, I think it will be Nadal and Tsonga or Youzhny in the semis.

jane Says:

andrea, ” i hope it’s Cilic over Blake against Fed.” Yeah, this may be a fun one to watch, since they’ve never played, the guy’s on a break through, etc. But I don’t know if he could win or anything; might be a little shell-shocked by the experience. Unlike Tipsy.

Can’t believe you missed Tipsy v Fed: you have to watch for a replay; it was phenomenal. I mean, Tipsarevic’s composure and tenacity were top-notch. Fed’s serve made the real difference at the end (Tispy said it’s really well disguised; he couldn’t read it); otherwise, I think most people will agree, it’s was anyone’s match. Both made errors and winners, both some brilliant shots.Since, Tipsy has made some great points about how to approach a match with Fed:
1. Before you get onto the court believe you can win, not that you’ll give it your best shot. As he puts it, Roger is “human and makes mistakes,” which leads to…
2. Taking chances when you get them
3. Keep the ball deep so Fed can’t dictate with those crazy angles he finds
4. Mix up your serve; don’t let him get a rhythm
5. Step into the court and take away time from Fed
6. Stay focused
This list is an amalgamation of what he said in his interview and what I’ve read in articles. What a thinker too; he really seemed to have a plan and to focus on it throughout. I hope he has a great year, and I hope you get to see the match. Roger had to dig deep, but he came through. We’ll have to see how that leaves him. It might be that someone he’s not played or hasn’t played much or in awhile will be the biggest test, if they can take some of Tipsy’s thoughts to heart.

bg Says:

I really hope you are wrong about the Venus serena final.
Serena does have a good chance against Jankovic and Maria, but Henin is a totally different affair. If Henin gets past maria (which would NOT have been a big IF, but for their last meeting) serena will be lucky to get a set off Justine.
However it is much easier for Venus as Ivanovic is known to choke.
So i pick a Henin Venus showdown on saturday

y0s3v Says:

Tipsy could take Fed to five sets only due to the fact that he wore glasses. Fed could not see the eye ball of his opponent which made him difficult read the serve. That’s why Fed had a hard time breaking Tipsy’s serve otherwise he could have closed the match in a much shorter time without any problem.

jane Says:

“Tipsy could take Fed to five sets only due to the fact that he wore glasses. ”

Hahahahahahahahahahaha – thanks for the good laugh!

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