Newly crowned French Open champion Rafael Nadal’s start to the grasscourt season at Halle was cut short when the top seed crashed out in the quarter-final to Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber. Kohlschreiber, ranked 28 in the World and defending champion here, notched up his first-ever victory over the Spaniard in nine encounters, winning 6-3, 6-4.
The German will now play the winner of the match between Czech ace Tomas Berdych and Germany’s injury-prone former World No 2 Tommy Haas. “I said it was going to be tough,” Nadal said. “He plays well on this court. You just have to congratulate him. He played very aggressive, served well, returned well. He played better than me. I was suffering when he was serving. I didn’t have that energy to change the situation.” Nadal said he would now be heading back to his home in Mallorca to rest up.
“I can’t practise on grass there but it’s better not to practise for a few days. It’s time to rest with my family, friends, to relax. “I’ve played almost every match possible since Indian Wells. When I’m ready to come back, I’ll go to Wimbledon.” Nadal, who captured a record seventh Roland Garros title on Monday, suffered an even worse result when he last played in Halle seven years ago, losing in the first round to Alexander Waske.
This time around, Nadal was in difficulty from his first service game and was quickly 2-0 down, Kohlschreiber going on to wrap the first game up in little more than 30 minutes.
After saving two breaks in the opening game of the second set, Nadal then missed the chance to break the German three times on his serve in the fourth game, and Kohlschreiber kept his nerve to beat the Spaniard comfortably.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun clinched a shock 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5) victory over third seed Janko Tipsarevic yesterday to reach the quarter-finals at Queen’s Club for the first time. Lu, who had never been past the last 16 in six visits to this pre-Wimbledon warm-up event, was frustrated by the weather on Thursday evening when heavy rain forced the third round clash to be postponed with the 28-year-old leading 6-3, 1-2.
The world number 57 dropped the second set when play resumed on Friday, but held his nerve in a tense final set tie-break to eliminate world number eight Tipsarevic, who was the highest remaining seed after the shock exits of Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earlier in the week.
Lu will have little time to savour his success as he is scheduled to face sixth seed Marin Cilic later on Friday in what will be his first quarter-final appearance at an ATP Tour event this year.