Eighth seeds Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin crashed out of the Western and Southern Open in the second round following a 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 10-6 loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber and Fernando Verdasco, who advanced to the quarterfinals. They will now face either the third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers or Ivan Dodig and Robin Haase.
Kohlschreiber/Verdasco take tight set via tiebreaker
Roger-Vasselin began the match with a love service game, showing excellent serving skills for 0-1. Kohlschreiber also followed suit but struggled on serve. The third game, on the Mahut service game, the first deciding point of the match arose with Roger-Vasselin netting following a fizzed German return.
An excellent serve followed by a forehand won the game for the Frenchmen who stayed ahead at 1-2. Verdasco comfortably held serve to love as every player held serve, 2-2. Once again Roger-Vasselin struggled to serve as the German-Spaniard pair began to make moves.
Kohlschreiber showed excellent hand skills at the net to earn two break point chances. The French pair showed their defensive qualities to send the game to a deciding point, which they won to stay ahead at 2-3. But just two games later, they found themselves in trouble and facing a further two break points with Verdasco's forehand turning up.
Mahut sent the game to a deciding deuce point but the Spaniard's explosive forehand got the break following some great defense. However, the French duo broke straight back via an unforced error from the 34-year-old Spaniard to make it 4-4. All four players held serve to force a tiebreaker, which ended in the German-Spaniards way on their third set point 7-6(6).
Mahut/Roger-Vasselin fight back to win the set and force a champions tiebreaker
The unseeded German-Spanish pair made a great start to the second set. After holding their opening service game, the duo battled from 40-15 behind to send the game to a deciding deuce point, which they took to break after Verdasco unleashed another powerful forehand winner to go 2-0 ahead.
The 34-year-old Spaniard then consolidated the break to take a 3-0 lead. Mahut then stopped the rot and won the French pairs first game of the set for 3-1. But three games later at 4-2, the pair, following an all-court rally, produced some sterling defense to earn two much-needed break back points.
The pair broke back for 4-3 with Kohli's eagerly anticipated interception finding the net. The French pair then had to dig in deep to save four break points en route to consolidating, winning three straight games to make it 4-4. Both teams then held serve but at 6-5, the German-Spanish pair grabbed three match points following a solid forehand return from Kohlschreiber.
Just like previously in the set, the French pair had to dig in deep, which they did to send the game to a crucial deciding deuce point. But the 34-year-old Spaniard overcooked a backhand as the match went into its second tiebreaker. This time, on their first set point at 4-6, Roger-Vasselin's unreturnable serve sealed the set, 6-7(4).
Kohlschreiber/Verdasco win the champions tiebreak to advance into the quarterfinals
The unseeded pair got off to a fantastic start in the deciding set. Ahead at 2-1, Roger-Vasselin once more struggled on his serve and went down the mini-break at 3-1 before losing his serve for the second consecutive time to fall further behind at 4-1. A Verdasco unforced error handed one of the mini-breaks back to the French pair but he managed to win the next point on his serve to go 5-2 up.
From that moment on, both teams then remained flawless on serve which left the unseeded pair of Kohlschreiber/Verdasco just one point from victory with Roger-Vasselin overcooking a forehand return. An unfortunate double-fault by Mahut handed the unseeded pair the victory in the champions breaker 10-6.