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Djokovic vs Kohlschreiber tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Djokovic can avenge Indian Wells defeat as he opens Monte-Carlo Masters campaign

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 15 Apr 2019
  • Novak Djokovic faces Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters
  • Djokovic vs Kohlschreiber is live from the Monte-Carlo Masters on Tuesday at 2.30pm local/1.30pm BST
Novak Djokovic (PA Sport)

Will it be revenge for Novak Djokovic, or an unfortunate repeat as he starts his Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters campaign against the player who knocked him out of Indian Wells, Philipp Kohlschreiber?

Novak Djokovic starts his clay-court season with a change to avenge his surprising Indian Wells Masters defeat to Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

Novak Djokovic speaks to the press at the Monte-Carlo Masters (PA Sport)
Djokovic looked poised to dominate the spring hard-court season after winning his fifteenth Grand Slam at the Australian Open, but it did not work out that way. Whether you attribute it to inspired performances by his opponents, off-court distractions as the media and other players reacted to the removal of Chris Kermode as ATP CEO spearheaded by Djokovic or not having played a tournament since Melbourne, it’s hard to deny that Djokovic’s defeats to Kohlschreiber in the third round of the Indian Wells Masters and to Roberto Bautista Agut in the round of 16 at the Miami Masters were surprising to say the least.

The Serb remains world no. 1, of course, and has plenty of opportunity to add points, having lost early at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and the Madrid Masters in 2018 (to Dominic Thiem in the round of 16 at the former, and Kyle Edmund in the second round of the latter). And Djokovic as always is emphasizing the positive coming into the clay-court season.

‘Certainly I was disappointed because I thought I was playing better and better and I thought I could go far. But at the same time it is what it is and as I said I’ll try to look on the positive side,’ Djokovic said of his March defeats. 

‘I’ve had great form the past 12 months, great form. And other than those two tournaments, all the others I’ve played were at least the semi-finals or finals, most of the tournaments I played. That can serve only as an incentive so to say, or a confidence boost, prior to clay season.’

One of only two players other than Rafael Nadal who have managed to win the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title in the past 14 years, Djokovic – champion at this event in 2013 and 2015 – has already been on court at the tournament this year, although he and brother Marko hardly covered themselves with glory in a 1-6, 3-6 defeat to Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. It’s still a good exercise in getting used to the conditions, not that this is unfamiliar territory for Djokovic, a local resident for some years.

‘Obviously clay is a completely different surface. It’s very demanding physically, tactically, you have to be more patient, resilient, more enduring,’ Djokovic said. ‘You have to be able to construct the point in various ways. It is a slow surface.

‘[The] clay courts here in Monaco are probably the slowest of the big ones that we have on the Tour. My game and everybody’s game will be tested big-time, but that’s why we’re here.’

When it comes to tests, Philipp Kohlschreiber should provide a suitable second-round one. 

Philipp Kohlschreiber (PA Sport)
The German veteran’s defeat of Djokovic at the Indian Wells Masters proved that he remains, at 35, a classy and dangerous player. Currently ranked world no. 40, Kohlschreiber was ranked as high as world no. 16 in 2012 and has eight career ATP Tour titles to his name, six of them on clay as well as ten runner-up appearances, ten of them on clay. Most recently, he finished runner-up to younger compatriot Alexander Zverev at the BMW Open in Munich.

Kohlschreiber is making his 12th appearance at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where he made the quarterfinals in 2007 and again in 2010, and reached the round of 16 in 2018 before losing to Nadal. The German has won back-to-back ATP Tour-level matches just twice in 2019, first in making the semifinals of the ASB Classic in Auckland in January when he beat Fabio Fognini before losing to eventual champion Tennys Sandgren, secondly at Indian Wells, where he beat big servers Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nick Kyrgios before ousting Djokovic, only to fall to Gael Monfils – getting just two games in the process – in the last 16.

Beginning his clay-court season last week at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, Kohlschreiber was ousted in straight sets by eventual runner-up Pablo Andujar (the defending champion) in the second round. But he had little trouble at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters as he opened his campaign against lucky loser Taro Daniel, beating the Japanese player 6-1, 6-3 to set up this second-round clash with Djokovic.

Despite Kohlschreiber’s recent win, Djokovic still leads the overall head-to-head against the German 8-2, and before they met at Indian Wells had won seven straight matches against Kohlschreiber, winning 12 straight sets in the process. However, Kohlschreiber has never failed to take at least a set from Djokovic in three previous clay-court matches, defeating him at the French Open in 2009 and taking sets at the French Open in 2013 and the Rome Masters in 2014. A win in three sets for Djokovic therefore seems indicated, but I’m not so sure; I think the world no. 1 will put a marker down with a straight-sets victory over Kohlschreiber to make the third round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

Djokovic vs Kohlschreiber Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters tennis is live on Tuesday from 2.30pm local/1.30pm BST

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Djokovic vs Kohlschreiber tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Djokovic can avenge Indian Wells defeat as he opens Monte-Carlo Masters campaign

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