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Upset Alert! 01/18/2008 - 8:34 AM

Roddick Good morning all. I've tried to answer most (I think all, but I might have missed a few) of the questions in the Ask Tom post. If you have any interest, head back over there for more. Some of you might be watching Philipp Kohlschreiber as he threatens to put Andy Roddick out with the early morning Melbourne trash. The man's playing some fantastic ball at the moment, especially on big points. In the third set, he recovered from 5-5, 15-40 (including a 31-stroke rally) and in the tiebreaker he saved two set points. His backhand has been exceptional all night -- except for the one he just whiffed on (an omen of things to come?).

Feel free to comment here as I head upstairs for the rest of the match. I'll report back later.

***

Now, that was a classic Melbourne match. We had fabulous shot making, mostly from Kohlschreiber (at one point in late in the fourth late, the man hit so many backhand down the line winners and forehand cross court passes that you had to wonder whether he was plugged into a nearby electrical outlet--no human ought to put out that much voltage stroke after stroke).

We had clutch serving the likes of which I haven't seen in a long time, if ever, from Roddick, who obliterated three match points with three aces in the outside corner of the ad court service box, the first at 147 mph, the second at 141 mph, and the third at 138 mph. That's the most difficult serve in the business at the fastest speeds possible. Three times. In the same game. All three on match point. Unrealistic. He also let his second serve fly on a couple of key points, knowing that it was his best chance (once it worked, the other it didn't, but it didn't matter in the end).

You want gaudy offensive statistics? Kohlschreiber hit 104 winners and made 33 errors. Roddick had 79 winners and 24 errors. Roddick won 83% of points on his first serve; Kohlschreiber won 83% and 63% on his second serve (he served out of his mind; that's not one of his strengths). Roddick hit 42 aces; Kohlschreiber 32. If you are looking for a good way to measure the disparity between these two men in baseline rallies, here it is: 11 forehand and 3 backhand winners for Roddick, versus 27 forehand and 30 backhand winners for Kohlschreiber.

We had a hostile crowd, too, one that turned on Roddick, who is usually something of a fan favorite in Melbourne, in favor of an unknown (to most people) German player with a flashy game who hits one-handed backhands that at times defy belief. We also had steam coming out of Roddick's ears: I haven't seen him this worked up in a long time. He yelled at Kohlschreiber's vocal fans and told them to "Shut up!" He hated the way chair umpire Emmanuel Joseph, who was given the business by Lindsay Davenport earlier this week, called the match, handled the crowd, and interpreted the rule of Hawkeye challenges (when you can make them and when to play a let or award a point). Roddick heaped abuse on him--I'm not sure what was audible on television, so I'll share a few of his best lines:

"You need to do your job."

"Do you have ears? Do you have ears connected to your head?"

"Stay in school kids, or you'll end being an umpire."

And my personal favorite, "I'd love to be stuck in an elevator with this guy for about five minutes."

Why Joseph took all this without at least a warning I'll never know. Stick up for yourself man!

Kohlschreiber played the match of his life--and I have to say, I didn’t think he had it in him. He's what you might best describe as a high wire act, the sort of player who can dazzle and dominate, but who expends so much energy while doing it that he can't possible remain precise for long stretches. Roddick knew this and smartly tried to wait for Kohlschreiber to fall on his face, just as Rafael Nadal did at last year's Australian Open, when he beat Kohlschreiber in four sets. Kohlschreiber played a sloppy game in the second set and wobbled a few times in the third, when he wiggled out of a 15-40 jam at 5-5 (that 31 stroke rally I mentioned before). But he wouldn't fall. Roddick didn't expect him to keep his balance, either.

"I took his best stuff for five sets and I thought I was going to get him to break or to fold," Roddick said. "I thought if I kept it on him long enough that that would happen. Tonight he played like a great, great player."

Roddick also tempered his remarks with a bit of realism: "Let's let him get into the quarterfinal of a slam before we put him in the hierarchy of tennis. No disrespect, but I mean...." (Don't take it out of context; he was asked about Kohlschreiber's ability and gave a solid assessment. That's it.)

This was Roddick's best chance since the 2006 U.S. Open to reach a major final (he had a good shot against Rafael Nadal on this surface). For that reason, this is an enormous loss, a terrible, awful loss, worse than the loss to Gasquet at Wimbledon last year. I leave it to you to debate when he'll have another chance as good as this one.

That's it, I'm done for the night. Talk away and I'll check in later this morning.


68 Comments

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Posted by Aabye 01/18/2008 at 09:01 AM

Kohlshcreiber is serving like crazy. This tournament is really picking up, after all the top seeds were handing out bagels by the dozen the first few rounds.

Posted by Aabye 01/18/2008 at 09:05 AM

Come on, Roddick. You let it go, so you don't get to replay the point.

Posted by Aabye 01/18/2008 at 09:08 AM

Andy is acting a fool. He has been hanging around Connors too long.

Posted by Schwab 01/18/2008 at 09:08 AM

Seems like set 4 is going to be decided in a tiebreak. If Andy wins set 4, I believe he wins set 5, 6-4.

Posted by gregorio 01/18/2008 at 09:08 AM

I have to say I am cheering against Roddick at this point just because he is being such an idiot. And why does the umpire not penalize him for the non-stop insults?

Posted by Mia 01/18/2008 at 09:39 AM

Am cheering for Kohlschreiber now as, between the two of them, it looks like he'll be able to give Rafa a better fight. This will be Andy's 2nd year with Connors, but his transition game still leaves much to be desired.

Posted by tina 01/18/2008 at 09:47 AM

IMO, Andy's wasting any goodwill he earned with Davis Cup. "Do you have ears? Did you drop out of school after second grade? I'm going to speak very slowly to you so you understand me." I've never liked him, but this kind of bullying behavior is just what I wouldn't want representing the US on any international stage.

Please, PK, take him down.

Posted by tenniscrazy 01/18/2008 at 09:55 AM

Who is the umpire? He is doing a good job after the other umpire messed up in Fish's match. Roddick is very testy.
Sounds like Mr.Layani, but they aren't showing his face on TV at all.
Also, I saw Shane Warne in the crowd.

Kohlschreiber is close to a 100 winners now.
Roddick - 40 aces, just saved 3 match points at 4-5 down in the 5th.

Posted by Carlos 01/18/2008 at 10:01 AM

Hi All. At work and can't watch the match. What is Andy doing to be such an idiot?

Posted by Dejo 01/18/2008 at 10:03 AM

Kohlschreibers performance reminds me of Gasquets at Wimbledon. Incredible shotmaking.

Posted by tenniscrazy 01/18/2008 at 10:04 AM

wow!
Kohls... just crossed 100 winners
Funny how Roddick shouted at the umpire and told him to do his job...asked if he should send him an email or fax, etc...

Then later, when the ump did his job...he was complaining...he was trying to pre-empt a Kohlschreiber challenge on match point saying he hit the ball...to be fair PK's hand went up for the challenge immediately. Roddick survived the challenge by a few mm...

101 for him now 7-6 Roddick serving...
hold on now...15-40 double match point 3 ripping winners in this game...

Posted by tenniscrazy 01/18/2008 at 10:08 AM

All over for Roddick at Aus open 2008, he won't meet Nadal in the quarters

Kohls... 104 winners, amazing performance...I'm sure Roddick will whine about his opponent's winners instead of focusing on his own shortcomings.

Not an overwhelming surprise since he just beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in the Auckland final this month and also beat Youzhny in Munich last year, both good players playing well.

Anyway, well played Kohlsie...
Good luck!

Posted by tina 01/18/2008 at 10:09 AM

Bye-bye, Andy. I, for one, won't miss you at all.

Posted by gregorio 01/18/2008 at 10:10 AM

Great match, fantastic win for Kohlschreiber who kept his cool as Roddick was losing his. It was a bit like Gasquet at Wimby (both monster backhands, lots of passing shots against Roddick) but Kohlschreiber didn't wait do be down 2-0 to give Andy a game.

Good to see Roddick deliver a proper handshake and "Good luck" to Kohlschreiber at the end of the match. And he even shook the ump's hand.

Posted by Seth 01/18/2008 at 10:13 AM

Thank you Phil Kohlschreiber for sending that obnoxious jerk out of the tournament.

Posted by felizjulianidad 01/18/2008 at 10:13 AM

Who is the winner bound to face in the 4th round? I think Kohlschreiber can definitely take a set off Nadal, but Nadal seems very determined this time to get past the quarterfinals.

Posted by Marcelo 01/18/2008 at 10:19 AM

Awesome game, impressive Kohlschreiber. What a backhand!!
It amazes me that the german kept his cool throughout the whole match, especially in the fith set. Hope he can make Rafa sweat a little, since, as usual, the spaniard was handed an easy draw.
What a pity for Andy, failed in decisive moments again!

Posted by Marcelo 01/18/2008 at 10:20 AM

Awesome game, impressive Kohlschreiber. What a backhand!!
It amazes me that the german kept his cool throughout the whole match, especially in the fith set. Hope he can make Rafa sweat a little, since, as usual, the spaniard was handed an easy draw.
What a pity for Andy, failed in decisive moments again!

Posted by Dee 01/18/2008 at 10:24 AM

A very high quality match. Both guys played well but Phillip had the upper hand for most of the 5th set. Fantastic (and numerous!) winners from both players.

An upset indeed. But Phillip, you deserve it. And thank you and Andy for giving us a blockbuster. Andy, well done at the net during the handshake.

Compared to the Safin/Baggy match yesterday, Roddick and Kohlschreiber were still looking fresh and nimble in the 5th set, and they played a longer match.

How tall is Kohl? as Jim Courier towered over him... I got it, 5'10".

Posted by Dee 01/18/2008 at 10:28 AM

Felizjulianidad: It is Kohl vs Nieminen next, the winner to meet the winner of Rafa vs Paul Henri Matthieu match.

Posted by calgal 01/18/2008 at 10:28 AM

The moment you see Andy losing his cool in a match -- as he seems to do every time he plays Federer -- the end is near for Roddick.

Posted by Nuche 01/18/2008 at 10:32 AM

Losing 8-6 in the fifth again has to really hurt andy. Especially in the third round. With all of the points he needed to defend, it is a posibility that there won't be asingle american in the top ten after this tournament.

Posted by Beverly Patton 01/18/2008 at 10:32 AM

There is justice in the tennis world. During the 2nd round Roddick-Berrer match the very arrogant and disrespectful Connors was repeatedly shown laughing hysterically at Berrer's errant shots. The overrated Roddick got what he deserved with the loss to Kohlschreiber.

Posted by audiorage 01/18/2008 at 10:34 AM

What a match! If kohlschreiber keeps this up i predict he could be the djokovic of 2008! :)

Posted by nuche 01/18/2008 at 10:35 AM

why do connor's actions have to bear out on andy?

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