Kohlschreiber Turning Season Around In Indian Wells
Philipp Kohlschreiber has accomplished plenty in his career on the ATP World Tour. The German has won a title in six of the past seven seasons, climbed as high as No. 16 in the ATP Rankings and much more. But the 34-year-old arrived at this BNP Paribas Open out of form, failing to win back-to-back matches this season.
But perhaps Kohlschreiber will burst into a strong season thanks to his efforts in Indian Wells. The German veteran upset second seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday afternoon for his first Top 10 win since 2016 and advanced to the Round of 16 in the Coachella Valley for the first time since 2011 (l. to del Potro).
"Very happy," Kohlschreiber said. "I think my performance worked quite well from the start. I felt like Marin was maybe a bit nervous. I felt good. Played aggressive."
The right-hander also breaks a streak of 13 consecutive losses against the Top 10, dating back to his win against then-No. 7 Tomas Berdych in 2016. For whatever reason, Kohlschreiber has had Cilic's number over the years: The 31st seed now leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 7-4, including 5-2 on hard courts.
"My first match was a really tough battle with my opponent, with myself. I struggled a little bit more. Today, I tried to forget everything what happened," Kohlschreiber admitted. "Happy that it worked out. It's also an easier match, nothing to lose, big stadium, a lot of support from the crowd, makes it maybe sometimes easier to play. On the other side, I really enjoy playing tennis still, even though if I'm sometimes not at my best. But, yeah, very happy that it worked out today very well."
The German next faces Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who had never advanced to the third round of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event prior to this event. In fact, the Frenchman owned just five wins at this level (5-12).
But after advancing when Gael Monfils retired while down 2-6, 1-3 due to a lower back injury, Herbert, No. 93 in the ATP Rankings, is into the Round of 16 at Indian Wells. Herbert will attempt to reach his second singles quarter-final of the season against Kohlschreiber (Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune).
This could be a singles breakthrough for Herbert, who has reached one ATP World Tour final (2015 Winston-Salem). The Frenchman has long enjoyed success on the doubles court, winning 12 tour-level titles — 11 of which have come with compatriot Nicolas Mahut. The pair has won six Masters 1000 events and qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals in each of the past three seasons.
Herbert is one of six players remaining in both the singles and doubles draws, as he partners Mahut later Tuesday against Pablo Cuevas and Horacio Zeballos.