Novak Djokovic's struggles continue with Indian Wells defeat

Novak Djokovic's struggles continue with Indian Wells defeat

Djokovic will now be hoping for a better showing at the next ATP Masters event he is scheduled to play in a few days time, the Miami Open.

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.

His title defense got off to a soggy start March 10 night when play was suspended because of rain showers with Federer up a set and tied 2-2 in the second.

No wonder the injury hit Djokovic uttered to reporters afterward: "For me it felt like (the) first match I ever played on the tour. Very weird. I completely lost rhythm", said the Serb. The win extended his 2018 win streak to 13 matches.

Djokovic is a 12-time Grand Slam champion and former World No 1 but was only seeded 10th here, having taken six months off after Wimbledon previous year and then undergone surgery following a fourth-round loss at the Australian Open.

Despite that, he was expected to beat his Japanese opponent, but over the two hour 30 minute match Djokovic made 61 unforced errors.

After the defeat, Djokovic admitted that he had lost his rhythm and mental edge. He lost to Chung Hyeon in the Australian Open fourth round in January before undergoing the surgery.

"To me, it's not that surprising", the defending champion said in California.

"It is still early stages for Novak coming back and the first one after surgery".

Among the other losers on Sunday were Germany's Alexander Zverev, who lost to Portugal's Joao Sousa 7-5, 5-7, 6-4, and American John Isner, who was defeated by France's Gael Monfils 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 7-5 in a gripping match, in which both players struck a total of 23 aces.

If anyone knows what it is like to deal with injuries, it's Juan Martin del Potro - the career of the 2009 US Open victor has been ravaged by wrist injuries.

Cilic, the second seed, disposed of Marton Fucsovics 7-5 6-3 and 2013 runner-up Del Potro outclassed Australian wildcard Alex de Minaur 6-2 6-1.

Related Articles