By Nick Georgandis
With Andy Murray out of the way, the top right quarter of the BNP Paribas Open officially became fourth-seeded Robin Soderling’s to lose. Consider it lost.The Swede went down swinging against Phillip Kohlschreiber on Monday, as the German took a 7-6 (8), 6-4 win to advance to the fourth round at Indian Wells. Kohlschreiber lit Soderling up for 14 aces and wrecked him on return points, winners on 13 of Soderling’s 22 second serves (59 percent success). The 32nd-seed advances to the fourth round on Wednesday, where he will face off against either Alexandr Dolgopolov or Juan Martin Del Potro.
Kohlschreiber won the wild first-set tie-breaker to put Soderling on his heels, then simply overwhelmed him at the service stripe in the second, notching seven aces, converting 8 of 9 first serves and 12 of 15 seconds. Historically, the win was no surprise for the 35th-ranked Soderling. It’s the fourth time in five career matchups that he’s defeated Soderling. Soderling won their matchup earlier this year at Rotterdam, but prior to that, Kohlschreiber was 3-0 against the Swede.
Kohlschreiber wasn’t the only lower seed wiping out a favorite on Monday. Albert Montanes rallied past fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, the 11th seed, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Montanes got stronger as the match got longer, saving eight break points in nine attempts. Almagro rocketed eight of his 12 aces in the third set, but it wasn’t enough to propel him to victory after his dominant run through the Latin American clay court season last month. Montanes improved to 3-1 all-time against Almagro and evened his season record at 5-5. He will meet either Ivo Karlovic or Gilles Simon in the fourth round.
Meanwhile, Donald Young’s Cinderella story ended abruptly, just two days after he stunned world No. 5 Murray.Young was whipped by Spain’s Tommy Robredo, 6-0, 6-4 to bring a quick halt to his time at Indian Wells. Robredo moves on to face either countryman Fernando Verdasco or America’s Sam Querrey in the fourth round on Wednesday. Robredo needed just 68 minutes to dismiss of Young, who committed seven double faults and was battered by Robredo’s impressive return game – 47% on Young’s first serves, 62% on second serves. After a Murphy’s Law type first set, Young was more successful in the second, withstanding six of eight break points before falling.