Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel ousts Djokovic in Indian Wells

Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel ousts Djokovic in Indian Wells

Defending champion Roger Federer eased into the fourth round at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells with an authoritative straight-sets victory over Filip Krajinovic.

The 12-time major victor led 5-2 in the opener, but Daniel fought back well to clinch the first set on a tie-break, and although Djokovic pulled level, 61 unforced errors from the five-time champion saw Daniel clinch victory after two-and-a-half hours.

The world number one had looked well on his way to a comfortable second-round victory when rain halted play on Saturday with the second set tied at 2-2, but he did not have it all his own way a day later.

Daniel, who is ranked 109th in the world, advanced to the third round, where he will face Gael Monfils of France, who outlasted American John Isner 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5.

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It's the 25-year-old's biggest career win.

Djokovic was makings his first appearance since being stunned by Hyeon Chung at the Australian Open.

"For me, I think Roger Federer is certainly the greatest player that has come along", Laver said earlier this year.

Djokovic missed the last five months of the previous campaign to recover from his injury, but was unable to get back to his best despite months of rehabilitation.

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The Serb concedes that being sidelined for so long and struggling with a lengthy injury is new to him and he says he spoke to his countryman Viktor Troicki about how he dealt with his return to the game after getting suspended by the ITF for refusing to take a drugs test. "But I was grateful to be out on the court that quickly after surgery". "I'm glad I get the chance to play while she" still playing". "I was too close to still beating the best", he said.

"It is still early stages for Novak coming back and the first one after surgery". The German's slump continued after losing late in the evening to Joao Sousa 7-5, 5-7, 6-4. Even though I served my five aces yesterday, I hit none today.

"Very weird; I just completely lost rhythm", said Djokovic, the No. 10 seed, who added, "for me it felt like the first match I ever played on the tour".

Indications that he was in good touch came in the second game of the match when he sealed a break to go 2-0 ahead.

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