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Monfils vs Kohlschreiber ATP Indian Wells Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can in-form Monfils take down Djokovic-slayer, Kohlschreiber?

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 13 Mar 2019
  • Gael Monfils vs Philipp Kohlschreiber is live from Indian Wells on Wednesday, 13 March from 8:00pm local time/ 3:00am GMT (Thursday morning)
  • Monfils has a dominant 13-2 lead on head-to-head
Gael Monfils. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

Following his sensational victory over Novak Djokovic, German, Philipp Kohlschreiber will now attempt to reach the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open for the second straight year when he takes on in-form Frenchman, Gael Monfils on Wednesday.

Kohlschreiber's third round meeting with Djokovic was waved off as many as a mere formality, and for good reason too. The German was 1-8 against Djokovic and had lost his last seven matches against the Serbian, but he turned the draw on its head with an assured performance, winning 6-4 6-4 to score his first ever victory against a reigning world No. 1 in his twelfth attempt.

In a match carried over from Monday night due to rain, Djokovic did not perform anywhere near his best level, but nothing should be taken away from Kohlschreiber, who produced a performance of poise and skill to oust the five-time champion. He served at a healthy 72%, which is almost crucial against the world No. 1, winning 69% of points on his first serve and 53% on his second; and importantly, he played the big points better, saving four of five break points, and converting three of his four opportunities on Djokovic's serve. The one break of serve he gave up came while he was serving for the match at 6-4 5-2, as Djokovic threatened one of those rousing comebacks, but the underdog had the added insurance of the double break, and he made no mistake when he stepped up to serve for the match for a second time, holding to 15 to secure the famous win.

“It's a very special win today," Kohlschreiber said. "I had a great strategy to play against him. I had two good wins [entering the match]. So everything came together. [It's] very special to beat the No. 1. Unfortunately, the tournament is not over. I have to get back tomorrow with a great mindset. Today I want to take the moment, celebrate with my coach. I've got a lot of messages. I know it's a very special victory today."

The German had arrived Indian Wells on a four-match losing streak, and had been beaten in the opening round in four of his six previous tournaments in 2019, but he has scripted a sensational run in California, taking down Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who had been having a fine year, Acapulco champion, Nick Kyrgios, and now, top seed, Djokovic all in straight sets.

Philipp Kohlschreiber. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
A former world No. 16, the stylish Kohlschreiber has been one of the most aesthetic players on the tour over the last decade and a half, but he often came up short against the best players in the world, and had plateaued into a top-40 player in the last few years. Ironically, despite his superb run, Kohlschreiber, currently ranked 39th in the world, is projected to drop out of the top 40 after Indian Wells, because he is defending quarter final points from last season. He must at least match last year's quarter final run to stay in the top 40!

To do that, he must take down Gael Monfils on Wednesday. 

When Monfils pulled out of his scheduled season opener in Auckland due to a thigh injury, and then crashed to a second-round loss to Taylor Fritz at the Australian Open, many would have feared the worst for the Frenchman, who had had a running battle with injuries over the years, and had slipped outside the world's top-30 at the start of the 2019.

However, what followed has been a remarkable run of form which has taken the Frenchman back into the top-20, and made him a consistent contender in tournaments once again. Under new coach, Liam Smith, there appears to be a renewed focus in Monfils, and crucially, he has been able to maintain his fitness through the last two months.

The 32-year-old has reached at least the semi-finals in each of his last three tournaments, with a fine title run in Rotterdam sandwiched between semi-finals in Sofia and Dubai. He is on course for a fourth straight semi-final, with the only other seeded players left in his half of the draw being Dominic Thiem (7) and Milos Raonic (13).

Monfils opened his tournament with a three-set win over Leonardo Mayer in the second round before racing past Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-0 6-3 to advance to the fourth round at Indian Wells for the third time in four years. His best performance in California remains his quarter final run in 2016, and he will attempt to emulate that when he takes on Kohlschreiber on Wednesday. 

Monfils has dominated this rivalry over the years, winning 13 of their 15 previous meetings, and while the head-to-head is never full proof of what might happen, (re: Djokovic-Kohlschreiber), it's not hard to see why Monfils has had the measure of the German, and why he will go into Wednesday's meeting as the firm favourite. Like Kohlschreiber, the Rotterdam champion is a fine shot-maker, but the Frenchman brings a lot more than shot-making to the table, most notably power and athleticism, and if you add his recent form to the equation, it doesn’t add up well for Kohlschreiber.

Not that the German will bother himself with those calculations! He’s coming off victories Kyrgios and Djokovic, and won’t believe he can take out anybody at the moment. It will be an entertaining contest, and I’m backing Monfils to be too strong for the German on Wednesday night. 

Gael Monfils vs Philipp Kohlschreiber is live from Indian Wells on Wednesday, 13 March from 8:00pm local time/ 3:00am GMT (Thursday morning)

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Monfils vs Kohlschreiber ATP Indian Wells Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can in-form Monfils take down Djokovic-slayer, Kohlschreiber?

Gael Monfils takes on Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday. Can the Frenchman deny the German back-to-back Indian Wells quarter finals? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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