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German No. 29 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber (pictured) held his nerve to beat World No. 6 Andy Roddick 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9), 6-7(5), 8-6 in an Australian Open third round match on Rod Laver Arena that finished at 2:05am Saturday.
The 24-year-old Kohlschreiber clipped 104 winners and withstood 42 aces to record his seventh career win (7-13 lifetime) over a Top 10 player in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.
Despite winning 83 per cent of points on first serve, Roddick could only manage one break of serve from nine opportunities. He managed to save four match points on serve at 4-5 in the fifth set, but Kohlschreiber was not to be denied a famous victory in three hours and 53 minutes.
There were three total breaks of serve in 59 games, with Kohlschreiber winning 177 points to Roddick’s 170. Roddick, who has reached the Australian Open semifinals on three occasions in 2003, 2005 and 2007, drops to 25-6 at the first Grand Slam of the year.
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By progressing to the last 16 where he will face No. 24 seed Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, Kohlschreiber matches his best Grand Slam performance, having done so once before at the 2005 Australian Open (l. to Roddick in straight sets).
Kohlschreiber, currently a career-high No. 27 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, captured his second career ATP title last week in Auckland (d. Ferrero).
Nieminen knocked out fellow 26-year-old Mardy Fish 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-1 in two hours and 36 minutes. World No. 26 Nieminen has now reached the fourth round of each Grand Slam championship during his career.
After six weeks of military service in Finland, Nieminen reached the Adelaide final (l. to Llodra) in the first week of the 2008 ATP season. Fish advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals last year (l. to Roddick).
Earlier in the day, World No. 2 Rafael Nadal (pictured right) fought off an early challenge in his third round match. He succeeded in clinching the 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 28 seed Gilles Simon, one of a record-equaling six Frenchmen to have advanced to the third round.
Simon raced into a 3-0 lead in the first set as he dominated Nadal from the baseline. The World No. 33 then squandered two set points at 5-2 with a pair of unforced errors. He created another set point opportunity on his own serve in the following game, but sent a backhand long. In taking a 0-40 lead on Nadal's serve at 5-4, Simon was in control but his 21-year-old opponent hit two aces and a perfectly weighted drop shot to regain control.
After a tight 70-minute opening set, Nadal needed just 76 minutes to close out the victory as he delivered on six of his 17 break point chances. The second seed has yet to drop a set this week, having posted straight-sets wins over Serbian qualifier Viktor Troicki and Frenchman Florent Serra in the first two rounds.
The Spaniard will next try and match his career-best showing at the Australian Open - a quarterfinal finish against eventual finalist Chilean Fernando Gonzalez last year - when he encounters his third successive Frenchman, No. 23 seed Paul-Henri Mathieu, who outlasted Stefan Koubek in a 4-6, 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-5, 8-6 battle. Koubek hit 18 aces and 76 winners and won 187 points to 179, but Mathieu held his nerve to fight back with the fourth and fifth sets. Nadal has defeated Mathieu in all six of their previous career meetings. Head-to-Head
Nadal is trying to become the first player since Andre Agassi in 2000 to hold both the Roland Garros and Australian Open titles at the same time. He is making his fifth appearance in Melbourne, and has advanced one round further each time.
Friday: Davydenko, Youzhny to Clash; Tsonga Continues Charge
Thursday: Gonzalez, Nalbandian, Blake March into Third Round
Thursday: Federer Ends Santoro's Melbourne Spell
Wednesday: Davydenko, Gasquet Safely into Third Round
Wednesday: Nadal Eases into Third Round; Robredo Upset
Tuesday: Federer, Gonzalez, Blake Begin Melbourne Campaigns
Tuesday: Djokovic, Hewitt Make Impressive Starts; Ljubicic Upset
Monday: Nadal, Davydenko, Gasquet Safely into 2nd RD
Monday: Roddick Eases into Second Round; Murray Upset