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Giantkiller Rosol brought down to earth

by Ronald Atkin
Saturday 30 June 2012

Lukas Rosol, the man who beat Rafael Nadal in the biggest shock of the 2012 Championships, failed to get past the third round today when he was defeated by Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(6) in one hour 37 minutes. Having completed his historic victory over the No.2 seed under the roof of Centre Court, Rosol went out with disappointing ease for the spectators in the more tranquil atmosphere of Court 12.

Having soared to celebrity status with his Nadal night, much was expected of Rosol. But the man who has been living modestly in the nearby suburb of Southfields was never able to match his inspired performance of the second round. This was in no small measure due to the smart tactics of his German opponent, who said, "I had the right game plan against him. I knew for sure he is in great shape and had a lot of confidence, so I mixed up the pace a lot.

"If he hit a strong ball, every time I tried to slice it back, keep it short. He doesn't like to move too much into the court. I think I figured out the perfect tactic and played a very, very good match."

Committing only one unforced error in the first set and none in the second, Kohlschreiber throttled Rosol's ambitions with admirable professionalism.He took the first game with two breaks of serve in the third and seventh games in just 25 minutes, and the second was pocketed in a minute less with breaks in the fifth and ninth games."Rosol is a big server," said the German. "But I read his serve pretty well today. In the first set I think I played some amazing tennis."

The third set, as Kohlschreiber pointed out, became something of a mind game as Rosol desperately tried to rescue his afternoon and the German played more cautiously as he neared the victory that would take him into Wimbledon's fourth round for the first time.

There were no breaks of serve in the third set, with the audience becoming more and more vociferous in support of the giant-killer Rosol as it moved towards a tie-break, in which the 28-year-old German, who is ranked 30 and seeded 27th, silenced the crowd by surging into a 4-0 points lead as Rosol's backhand began to wobble. An ace and a service winner pulled Rosol back to 3-5 but when the Czech struck a forehand service return long the German had three match points.

To mounting frenzy in the stands, Rosol saved the lot, the first with an ace (his seventh), the second with a forehand winner and the third when a suddenly nervous Kohlschreiber dumped a simple forehand into the net. "It was a pretty bad shot," he admitted later.

Rosol's recovery was short-lived, however. A service winner offered Kohlschreiber his fourth match point and he clinched a merited victory when the Czech directed a backhand into the tramlines.

Kolhlschreiber then made a modest exit while Rosol soaked up the applause and signed autographs. "I think the crowd wanted to see more of him," said the German. "It was respect that he had had such a great tournament. Maybe the English people were also cheering him because they really liked it that he had kicked out Nadal."


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