For Novak Djokovic, there would be no revenge at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday afternoon.
Two weeks after succumbing to Nick Kyrgios 7-6(9), 7-5 in Acapulco, Djokovic went down again at the hands of the 21-year-old Australian via a 6-4, 7-6(3) decision in round four of the Indian Wells Masters. Kyrgios fired 14 aces and won 86 percent of his first-serve points to earn a place in the quarterfinals after one hour and 51 minutes.
Coming off a tough three-set victory over Juan Martin Del Potro on Tuesday night, Djokovic was forced to play an afternoon match because both he and Kyrgios had doubles on their schedules later on Wednesday. Showing signs of mental and physical fatigue, the world No. 2 was completely out of sorts in the early going. Kyrgios dominated set one, breaking right away for a 1-0 lead before earning break chances in two other games. Although the 15th seed could not capitalize on either of the next two, it hardly mattered because he dropped just seven points in his first five service games.
Djokovic saved a pair of break points in the second but again failed to generate any break-point opportunities of his own. A tiebreaker ensued and Kyrgios never trailed in it after surging to a 3-0 advantage.
Just like that, Djokovic suffered his first loss in the California desert since 2013–ending a streak of 19 consecutive match wins and three straight titles.
“The run was amazing,” the second-seeded Serb commented. “I am very proud of it, obviously. It had to end at some stage. Unfortunately, it was today. Nick–again, as he did in Acapulco a few weeks ago–served so well. (I) just wasn’t managing to get a lot of balls back on his serve. So I guess that’s what made a difference.”
“I knew it was going to be a tough battle today,” Kyrgios noted. “I knew he wanted to come out there and, obviously after Acapulco, to come out there and win. The conditions are completely different here than they are in Acapulco. I don’t think I served anywhere near as I did in Acapulco. I fought for every point, and obviously we were a bit–I think both of us were a bit nervous at times.
I thought it was a pretty good match. I played the crucial points pretty well. Yeah, it was good to get through.”
Next up for Kyrgios on Friday is Roger Federer, who thrashed Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 in a mere one hour and eight minutes on Wednesday.
“I’m very impressed him taking out Novak [in back-to-back matches against him] on Novak’s best surface,” Federer said of Kyrgios. “I hope it’s going to lead to something great for Nick (and) that he realizes if he puts his head down and focuses that he can bring it day in and day out, week in and week out. That’s maybe going to take a bit more time, but just that he can run through tournaments…that’s why he can win tournaments–because when it matters the most against the best and in finals, he’s there.”