March 19, 2018

Novak Djokovic loses to Taro Daniel at Indian Wells

12 March 2018, 04:41 | Israel Caldwell

Novak Djokovic has to sacrifice says Boris Becker 13 Mar 2018  View 531 by Gatto Luigi

Novak Djokovic has to sacrifice says Boris Becker

The defeat was just the fifth time in the past decade former world number one Djokovic has lost against a player outside the top 100 players in the world.

"It's been a long time since I have been interrupted at night and have to come back the next day", he said.

The match was tied 2-2 in the second set when it was halted Saturday. After another 90-minute delay organizers suspended play for the night. American Sloane Stephens, the 13th seed in the women's draw, was scheduled to play two-time BNP Paribas Open champion Victoria Azarenka following the Federer-Delbonis match in Stadium 1.

Should he win that, it will put him another step closer to claiming the "Sunshine Double" of Indian Wells and Miami for the fourth time in his career.

The defending champion will face Serbia's Filip Krajinovic in the round of 32.

Djokovic came from a set down to level the match against the World 109 but then fell apart in the final set, as Daniel triumphed 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-1.

"For me it felt like the first match I ever played on the Tour", Djokovic said.

The Indian qualifier is pushing towards a return to the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings after struggling with an elbow injury in 2016 after falling outside the Top 500. He returned for the Australian Open with a revamped, abbreviated service motion created to relieve pressure on the elbow and showed flashes of fine form before eventually losing in straight sets to Hyeon Chung in the fourth round.

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Djokovic scrambled to win the second set on Sunday but the rust from the layoff was evident as he made 62 unforced errors overall. "Very weird", Djokovic said.

"Definitely, I think it's motivating", Anisimova said in an interview last week. "And even though you don't have pain, you are still thinking about it because it's something I've been feeling and dragging for over two years".

"It is still early stages for Novak coming back and the first one after surgery". He's only going to get better from here.

Thiem has already won a tour-leading 17 matches this season, but he had to work hard to beat 19-year-old Tsitsipas, who reached the quarter-finals in Dubai last week and is ranked 71st in the world.

In other men's matches, Juan Martin del Potro steamed his way into the third round as the sixth seed needed just 69 minutes to beat Australian teenager Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-1.

After both players spurned opportunities at the start of the decider, it was Daniel who made the first move by establishing a 4-1 advantage as Djokovic appeared to wilt in the Californian heat.

On his return from right elbow surgery, Djokovic looked a pale shadow of his former self as he went down 7-6 (3) 4-6 6-1 to make a quick exit from a tournament he has won five times.

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