• Kohlschreiber returns to action against familiar foe Paire

    3/9/13 9:04 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Kohlschreiber returns to action against familiar foe Paire Philipp Kohlschreiber is back in action as he takes the court on Saturday in Indian Wells. Kohlschreiber's first match in more than a month will come against Benoit Paire.

    Philipp Kohlschreiber and Benoit Paire will be squaring off for the third time in their careers and for the third time since last summer when they meet in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.

    Kohlschreiber leads the head-to-head series 2-0, but both previous encounters went the distance. At the U.S. Open, Paire battled back from a break down in the fifth-set of a second-round thriller and even served for the match at 6-5, but Kohlschreiber forced a tiebreaker and eventually prevailed 6-7(4), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) amidst a raucous night crowd. A bizarre 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 scoreline one month later on the indoor hard courts of Metz also went in the German's favor.

    Paire will have good shot at revenge for several reasons, one being his own form. As usual, the 23-year-old Frenchman is up and down...but he has two strong results this season (a semifinal in Chennai and a final in Montpellier). Paire may have halted a minor slump when he ousted Lukasz Kubot in three sets on Thursday in Indian Wells.

    Kohlschreiber, meanwhile, may be rusty. The 21st-ranked German started the season with some solid results--including a runner-up showing in Auckland and a third-round appearance at the Australian Open--but he has not played since Davis Cup in early February due to a injured hamstring. Kohlschreiber had to retire in the fifth set of a rubber against Carlos Berlocq and he has not been heard from since.

    A victory over a tough opponent like Paire is too much to ask in Kohlschreiber's first match back. When the world No. 40 wins his first-round match, he generally parlays it into a decent run, so Paire in three sets is the pick.

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