• Raonic, Kohlschreiber clash in Rome opener

    5/12/13 11:11 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Raonic, Kohlschreiber clash in Rome opener An intriguing first-round matchup pits Milos Raonic against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday in Rome. Raonic just recently split from coach Galo Blanco.

    Milos Raonic and Philipp Kohlschreiber will be facing each other for the second time in their careers and for the second time this season when they do battle in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Monday. Raonic won their only previous encounter 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4 at the Australian Open.

    Kohlschreiber is heating up in the aftermath of a Davis Cup leg injury that hampered his hard-court swing earlier this spring. The 22nd-ranked German reached the third round in Monte-Carlo, advanced to the semis in Barcelona, and finished runner-up to countryman Tommy Haas in Munich. Kohlschreiber skipped Madrid last week following that intense stretch of tennis.

    Raonic has been solid but unspectacular on the slow stuff so far. The 14th-ranked Canadian lost in the Monte-Carlo second round, made his way to the Barcelona semifinals, then lost to Fernando Verdasco in round two of Marid. He has played a third-set tiebreaker in each of his last three tournaments (1-2 record).

    In off-the-court news, Raonic just split from coach Galo Blanco. That almost surely won't be any kind of deciding factor in this match, but it certainly does not help. Kohlschreiber should be able to use the slower surface to his advantage and avenge his previous loss to Raonic after three entertaining sets.

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