Latest 10 Jan 2013

Quarterfinals and Kohlschreiber go hand in hand

Quarterfinals and Kohlschreiber go hand in hand

The German, ranked at 19 in the world, has made the quarterfinals or better in eight of his nine appearances since first gracing the courts in Auckland in 2004.

The 2008 champion however had to work hard yesterday to secure that almost expected quarterfinal berth. Colombia’s Alejandro Falla forced him to three sets before Kohlschreiber claimed a 7-6 4-6 6-3 victory.

The difference this year for the Heineken Open regular is that Kohlschreiber comes to Auckland after his best season yet reaching a career high ranking of 16 in July.

“Last year I had a really great season I played many good matches, and improved a few points in my game which increased the victory level.”

Today he faces Belgian’s Xavier Malisse who surprised many yesterday by knocking over eighth seed Thomaz Bellucci. Kohlschreiber hasn’t faced Malisse since 2008 but history will be on the German’s side in the first match on centre court today.

Outside his home tournaments of Munich and Halle, Auckland is his most successful tournament. He admits it feels like home here.

“Since I started my career I have such great memories here. I played my first quarterfinal here. I don’t know why but it feels really familiar… and it’s friendly … and I really like to play here.”

If Kohlschreiber makes it through to his second final in Auckland on Saturday, he’ll meet a man - David Ferrer - who has made the Auckland court his own and will be rewriting the tournament’s history books if he grabs his fourth title. The German is not fazed.

“There are many good opponents here. Ferrer is the big favourite to win the tournament but we all have a good chance to beat him.”

And after the season Kohlschreiber’s had, Ferrer will know he’s not the only one in the field who’s both in great form and feels very much at home here.