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Giant killer Lukas Rosol felled in five sets

lukas Rosol returns with a forehand.
by Alix Ramsay
Monday 24 June 2013

Whatever the name is, it is what we should be calling Julian Reister after he dispatched Lukas Rosol in five sets on the opening day of The Championships.

Now, Mr Rosol may not be a giant in his own right (although, at 6ft 5in, he is rather large) but this time last year, give or take a day or two, he was on the front and back pages of every newspaper in the land. He had just done the unthinkable and walloped Rafael Nadal in the second round. Who was this Czech superstar? Why had we never heard of him before? Surely he had a fabulous future ahead of him.

What we did not know at the time was that Rafa had a seriously duff knee while Lightning Lukas was just having one of those days, a purple patch in which everything he tried to do came off and every shot he hit fizzed past the former champion’s racket. Such days do not come often in a chap’s career and he has been waiting for another one to crop up ever since. Sure enough, Lightning did not strike twice as Philipp Kohlschreiber did for him in the very next round.

From there, Rosol returned to the shadows. He gained a little applause here and there as the man who once beat Nadal, but it was back to the real world for the boy from Brno. He had come to Wimbledon last year with a world ranking of 100 and left it placed 103 (that is the ranking system for you: unless you have a degree in mathematics, it will forever remain a mystery). In order to get another crack at the big boys, Rosol was going to have graft and grind his way around the tour searching for ranking points wherever he could find them.

But Rosol did graft and he did grind and slowly he edged up the ladder. Last year was a bit of a struggle but thanks to winning the title in Bucharest earlier this year and plugging away week by week, he hit the dizzy heights as the world No.33 last month and returned to SW19 as the world No.35. And that is when it all went a bit pear shaped.

Reister is a neat and tidy sort of player, the sort who can thump a decent serve, retrieve like a spaniel on a duck shoot and who has absolutely no qualms about coming to the net. Rosol can do all of the above, and he can clobber his forehand, too, but it is all a bit hit and miss with him. When it goes in, it is usually a clean winner – it is just getting it in that can be problematic. For all that he belted down 20 aces and 95 winners, he racked up 13 double faults and 74 unforced errors. 

For three-and-a-half hours, Rosol created chances and then let them slip away. He watched Reister, the world No.121, sneak into the lead and then reeled him in again but then, at the last, he was powerless to stop the German heading for the second round 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4. This was not one of Rosol’s giant-killing purple patches, not by a long chalk.

As for Reister, he faces Jurgen Melzer next after the Austrian put out the No.30 seed Fabio Fognini 6-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2. And if Melzer wins that one, we are going to have to come up with another new name, this time for the bloke who beat the bloke who beat the giant killer. It is all getting very complicated. 

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Related Photos & Videos

  • Julian Reister stretches to return.
  • Lukas Rosol takes aim.
  • Julian Reister attacks from his backhand.
  • Lukas Rosol looks to take control.
  • lukas Rosol returns with a forehand.
  • Lukas Rosol signs autographs after losing to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round.
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