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A Lump of Kohl — Kohlschreiber Takes Another Body Blow

Matt Zemek



Geoff Burke -- USA TODAY Sports

The following statement is both depressing and true: 2018 was a comparatively good year for Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The German reached the round of 16 at the U.S. Open and four Masters 1000 tournaments. In one of those four Masters events, Kohlschreiber actually won his round-of-16 match, meaning that he reached one Masters quarterfinal last year.

Kohlschreiber hadn’t made a Masters quarterfinal since 2010, meaning that he snapped an eight-year quarterfinal drought at the 1,000-point tournaments on the calendar. Again, from a comparative standpoint, 2018 was indeed a good year for Kohlschreiber.

That shouldn’t be the case, but it is.

You don’t need to hear the same old story about Kohlschreiber, but the German keeps writing it. He was routined in Montpellier on Wednesday, losing 4 and 3 to Radu Albot of Moldova. Albot is in the top 90 of the rankings, so he is certainly no bum. Nevertheless, Kohlschreiber — coming off one of his better seasons, in which he reminded tennis fans how much skill he possesses — has not done much in 2019 to carry momentum forward. He lost in the second round of the Australian Open. He did demolish Fabio Fognini, 3 and 1, in the Auckland quarterfinals in the lead-up to the Australian Open, but he then got dismantled by Tennys Sandgren in the semifinals.

Good enough to pound Fognini, erratic enough to get taken apart by Sandgren. This is the story of Philipp Kohlschreiber, a gifted player who is a lot like Richard Gasquet… only without a pair of major semifinals.

Will this loss to Albot awaken in Kohlschreiber a measure of urgency which will enable him to revive his game, or will it lead to more uninspiring results in the weeks ahead? Remember that Kohlschreiber’s one Masters quarterfinal from 2018 was in Indian Wells, so he will soon have to defend those points. Kohlschreiber lost to eventual Indian Wells champion Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters and gave the Tower of Tandil a substantial battle. That is the player Kohlschreiber can still be at this advanced stage of his career.

We will see if Kohlschreiber can find that iteration of himself. He needs to do it soon, or else he will shed a pile of ATP points.

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.