Novak Djokovic’s return from a long-term elbow injury suffered another blow on Sunday as the former world number one lost to 109-ranked Taro Daniel at Indian Wells.
Djokovic was beaten 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 6-1 by the 25-year old qualifier in his first competitive match since losing in the last 16 at Melbourne.
The 12-time major winner 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.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 11, 2018
“I just completely lost rhythm, everything,” Djokovic told reporters afterwards. “Just didn’t feel good at all, nerves were there. Just one of those days when you’re not able to find the rhythm from the baseline, especially the backhand side.”
“You’re still battling inside of your mind,” he added, referencing his recent elbow surgery. “You don’t have pain, but you’re still thinking about it.”
Daniel’s reward is a third-round match with Leonardo Mayer after his opponent Kei Nishikori pulled out through illness.
Meanwhile, top seed Roger Federer wrapped up his rain-delayed match against Argentina’s Federico Delbonis, winning 6-3, 7-6(8-6).
From under the evening lights to the bright Sunday sun, Roger Federer needs two days to beat Federico Delbonis, 6-3 7-6(4).
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 11, 2018
The defending champion will face Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic in the round of 32.
Britain’s Kyle Edmund, who had been out of action with a hip injury since making the semi-finals at the Australian Open lost out to Israel’s Dudi Sela.
Sela won 6-4, 6-4 in just 91 minutes against world number 24 Edmund, who recently replaced Andy Murray as British number one.
In other action, Sam Querrey (18) went through after beating Mischa Zverev 6-4, 7-5, while Lucas Pouille of France (9) lost out to Yuki Bhambri of India 6-4, 6-4.
Fifteenth seed John Isner also crashed out after losing in three sets to France’s Gael Monfils.