Friday 15 June 2012
Last Update 16 June 2012 5:48 pm
HALLE, GERMANY: 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 quarterfinal to Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Kohlschreiber, ranked 28 in the world and defending champion here, notched up his first-ever victory over Nadal 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 number two 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.
Forced to quit
In London, Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun was forced to quit during his Queen’s Club quarterfinal against Marin Cilic as the strain of playing two matches in the space of a few hours took its toll.
Lu had clinched a shock 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5) victory over third seed Janko Tipsarevic earlier yesterday to reach the last eight at the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event for the first time.
But the Tipsarevic match had been carried over from the previous day due to rain, meaning the world number 57 had to return to action only a couple of hours later to face Cilic and his body was unable to cope.
The 28-year-old was already trailing 6-4, 2-0 against sixth seed Cilic when he decided to withdraw from the match with a leg injury.
Lu had landed an early blow in his first ATP quarter-final this year when he broke Cilic in the second game of the opening set.
But that only sparked Cilic into life and the Croat hit straight back, breaking in the next game and again in the fifth to move 3-2 ahead.
That was enough of an advantage for the big-serving Cilic to close out the first set and he was back on the attack with another break at the start of the second.
Lu was showing signs of discomfort as he moved now and he called for treatment at 2-0 down.
The trainer spent several minutes working on his groin area, but Lu still seemed unhappy and was soon on his feet to tell Cilic that he would have to withdraw.
With the top five seeds here already eliminated, Cilic — who will face 2010 Queen’s champion Sam Querrey or Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in the semi-finals — must fancy his chances of winning the tournament.
Earlier, Bulgarian youngster Grigor Dimitrov reached the last four as he won a rain-interrupted clash against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.
Dimitrov, a former junior champion at Wimbledon and the US Open, is regarded as one of the rising stars of the ATP Tour and he underlined his credentials by coming from a set down to beat ninth seed Anderson 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The 21-year-old, who is making his Queen’s debut, is so lavishly talented he has occasionally drawn comparisons with Roger Federer, but he is only just beginning to deliver on that promise.
This was his first ATP quarterfinal of the season and he seized the moment with a dynamic performance in between the showers that forced play to be halted twice.
Dimitrov will play either 2002 Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian or Belgium’s Xavier Malisse in the last four.
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