Djokovic rues shock Indian Wells exit

Rain halts Federer's opening match at Indian Wells

Rain halts Federer's opening match at Indian Wells

The Serb was once the most dominant player around - winning four straight grand slam titles from 2015 to 2016 - but little of that scintillating form was on display when the 12-time grand slam victor was upset by Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-1 in the second round in Indian Wells on Sunday.

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

No time to rest for Roger Federer, who after beating Federico Delbonis over two days is back on court on Monday to face Filip Krajinovic for the first time in his career.

Roger Federer has stressed that he is not surprised after Novak Djokovic crashed out in the early stages of the 2018 Indian Wells and the world No.1 has backed the Serbian star to "only get better from here". He then chose to stop and have an operation to heal his elbow injury.

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. Find us on Facebook too!

It was another snag in the return for the 30-year-old Djokovic who admitted he was out of sorts while playing in just his second event of 2018.

"To me, it's not that surprising", the defending champion said in California. Very weird. I mean, I just completely lost my rhythm.

Djokovic bounced back in the second, but Daniel took advantage of his opponent's poor form to win the third.

"When you do come back from injury or when you haven't played in a long time, it just takes extra effort. He's only going to get better from here".

Other seeded men advancing were: No. 7 Kevin Anderson defeated Evgeny Donskoy 7-5, 6-4, No. 12 Tomas Berdych rolled past German Maximilian Marterer 6-1, 6-4 in just over an hour.

Seeded losers included Italian No. 16 Fabio Fognini, 4-6 7-6 (2) 6-4 against Jeremy Chardy of France, and Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, hammered 6-0 6-3 by young Croat Borna Coric.

World number three Marin Cilic also won Sunday, defeating Hungary's Marton Fucsovics in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3.

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