Monfils Magic: Gael Dominates Kohlschreiber
You can say that ‘La Monf’ was in ‘La Zone’ on Wednesday evening in Indian Wells.
Gael Monfils, the 18th seed, eliminated German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-0, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open just one day after Kohlschreiber stunned World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Monfils has enjoyed a tremendous start to 2019, winning 15 of 18 matches. That is the 32-year-old’s best start to a season in 15 years on the ATP Tour. This week, Monfils returned to the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings (at No. 19) for the first time since July 2017.
This was Monfils’ sixth consecutive win against Kohlschreiber, and he now leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 14-2. If the Frenchman would have played Djokovic, the Serbian leads their rivalry 15-0.
But from the first game, Monfils appeared completely locked in. While Kohlschreiber’s heavy groundstrokes affected Djokovic’s rhythm on Wednesday, Monfils never looked out of his comfort zone, striking stunning winners when given opportunities to step inside the baseline and using his speed to win many of the match’s cat-and-mouse points.
Monfils not only broke Kohlschreiber’s serve five times, but he did not face a break point in his 58-minute triumph, which included a 21-minute first set. It appeared the German might scratch and claw his way into the fourth-round clash when he saved a break point to hold in his first service game of the second set. But Kohlschreiber did not have enough weapons to pressure this year’s Rotterdam champion.
Since losing the second set of his opening-round encounter with Argentine Leonardo Mayer, Monfils has not allowed a set to go past 6-3 in Indian Wells. He will next face seventh seed Dominic Thiem for a spot in the semi-finals.
Did You Know?
There have been 18 tour-level events thus far in 2019, won by 18 different players. Of those champions, only Monfils and five-time BNP Paribas Open winner Roger Federer remain in Indian Wells.