WIMBLEDON, England – Two days after his stunning upset of Rafael Nadal, Lukas Rosol returned to reality.
Gone was the Centre Court crowd, the massive TV audience and the unique atmosphere of playing on tennis' biggest stage. Gone, also, was the level of tennis that turned the previously little-known Rosol into an overnight sensation.
The 26-year-old Czech player, who looked like a star in the making when he overpowered Nadal in a five-set victory in the second round, on Saturday again looked very much like a player ranked 100th and making his first Wimbledon appearance. He lost in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (6) to Philipp Kohlschreiber, a 27th-seeded German who reached the fourth round here for the first time.
"I try my best," Rosol said. "I was trying couple of ways, but I didn't find a good way to win today."
What a difference from Thursday, when it seemed he could do nothing wrong in the fifth set against Nadal, using spectacular shot-making and near-perfect serving to secure one of Wimbledon's biggest ever upsets by eliminating the two-time champion.
On Saturday, he was back in more similar surroundings, playing in front of about 1,000 people on the smaller Court 12 at the All England Club. And Rosol simply couldn't reproduce the type of tennis he displayed on Centre Court.
The big-hitting Czech player hit just seven aces — compared to 22 against Nadal — in windy conditions and struggled with his returns, failing to earn a break point.
Kohlschreiber, who also beat Nadal in the quarterfinals of the grass-court warm-up tournament in Halle this month, took full advantage by dominating most of the rallies and made only five unforced errors in the match, compared to 17 for Rosol.
"I was feeling good today, but it was a little bit windy. Didn't help me a lot," Rosol said. "He was playing pretty good today and he didn't give me a lot of chances."
Rosol's struggles started as soon as the wind picked up early in the match. Twice during his second service game, Rosol let his toss-up drop back to the ground instead of serving as the wind changed the ball's direction. He was broken for the first time that game when he completely whiffed on a forehand.
In his next service game, Rosol hit his first double-fault when his second serve was long, and he raised his arm as if to challenge the call — only to get a slight shake of the head from the chair umpire as there is no Hawk-Eye on Court 12.
"Of course, the atmosphere was really different, but still cannot be (that) every match (has an) atmosphere like this two days ago," said Rosol, wearing a New York Yankees cap in his post-match news conference. "Sometimes ... I just wake up and I play good. Sometimes I'm so tired. But two days ago was working good, everything. I knew that this can happen."
Rosol's victory over Nadal has been the talk of Wimbledon over the last two days, with everyone from Roger Federer to Novak Djokovic and Kim Clijsters expressing their admiration for his achievement.
Kohlschreiber, for his part, was also pleased with Rosol's previous win.
"Of course I'm very happy that I'm not playing against Rafael Nadal, that's for sure," the German said. "Of course I was hoping (Rosol) is having not that day again against me. I think also the conditions today, it was a little bit windy, we played on a smaller court, so it was everything a little bit more in my favor, I think."
Despite his disappointing performance, Rosol was still the one getting a loud ovation from the crowd both before and after the match — a sign of appreciation for showing that anything can happen on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
"I think that the crowd wanted to see more of his, yeah, great game let's say from the fantastic points," Kohlschreiber said. "I think it's a big respect that he played such a great tournament."
So what's next for Rosol? Well, something even less glamorous than playing on Court 12. He's scheduled to play in a tournament on the ATP Challenger's tour in Germany next week, where he is the defending champion.
"I would prefer to play here, of course, than the challenger in Germany," Rosol said. "For me (the Nadal match) is already past. I have to look forward what's going to happen next days, next matches.
"I cannot live from this match what happened already. I have to live what's going to be."