Kohlschreiber, Mathieu advance to final in Kitzbuehel
KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) — Philipp Kohlschreiber ended top-seeded Dominic Thiem’s 10-match winning streak on Friday, setting up a final against Paul-Henri Mathieu of France at the Generali Open.
The sixth-seeded German defeated Thiem 6-0, 7-6 (6) in the semifinal of the season’s last clay-court event. The 21st-ranked Austrian was coming off back-to-back tournament wins in Umag and Gstaad.
Earlier, qualifier Mathieu defeated Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-4, 6-3 to reach his first ATP final in six years.
Kohlschreiber, who is 3-1 against Mathieu, also reached the final here in 2012 when he lost to Robin Haase of the Netherlands. Kohlschreiber is aiming for his sixth career title, Mathieu for his fifth.
Kohlschreiber avoided break points in the entire match against Thiem. He missed four chances on the Austrian’s serve in the second set and saved a set point in the tiebreaker before converting his first match point.
“I had a fantastic start, I succeeded with everything I tried,” Kohlschreiber said. “In the second set I made some unforced errors. That helped him back into the match.”
Mathieu played his last of eight finals in Hamburg in 2009, two years after winning his last title in Gstaad. He is the first qualifier in the Open Era to reach the final of the clay-court event in Kitzbuehel.
“I’ve been working very hard to come back after my injury,” said the formerly 12th-ranked Mathieu, who missed the entire 2011 season because of left knee problems.
Almagro dropped his serve for a second time at 5-4 in the opening set following a dispute with a ballboy, who he judged too slow. He then lost the first four games of the second set. Mathieu converted his first point with his sixth ace.