Auckland’s wind has blown the chances of plenty of players away at the Heineken Open.
But after 10 years playing in the city, it’s now Philipp Kohlschreiber’s friend.
With improving Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta pushing him towards a third set tiebreak, the 2008 champion reverted to backhand slices in an attempt to slow the rallies up.
It ultimately worked, as Kohlschreiber broke serve in the 12th game of the third set to win 6-2 3-6 7-5.
Kohlschreiber, like top seed David Ferrer, is making his 10th visit to Auckland, and he put all of his knowledge to good use.
“With the wind, the slice is not that fast but it’s changing the direction of the ball quite a lot,” the fifth seed said.
“I remember when I lost in the semis to (Olivier) Rochus in 2012 he played a lot of slice and I got frustrated very badly. If you play a good slice it’s pretty tough to do something and in a tight moment you never know.”
Kohlschreiber now takes on Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, a player he’s beaten in their three previous clashes.
The tournament lost its first seeded player on Tuesday when Dutchman Robin Haase lost in a three-set, 2 hour and 10 minute marathon to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain.
Sixth seed Benoit Paire of France had an easier time, beating Poland’s Michal Przysiezny 6-4 6-2 in 49 minutes to earn a second round match with Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, a 6-1 3-6 6-4 winner over qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
Two qualifiers to win through to the second round were American Donald Young, who beat Federico Delbonis of Argentina, and Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, who easily accounted for New Zealand wildcard Rubin Statham.
Both face tough second round matches: Young will play Ferrer, while Lacko faces third seed John Isner of the United States.