INDIAN WELLS, March 12: World number one Roger Federer picked up where he left off, winning the four games he needed to defeat Federico Delbonis on Sunday after their match was interrupted the night before by rain.On the other hand, Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel sent five-time tournament champion Novak Djokovic tumbling out of the Indian Wells Masters with a hard-fought 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-1 victory. Federer returned to stadium court and needed an hour to finish off his second round victory 6-3, 7-6 (8/6).
Roger Federer of Switzerland in action against Federico Delbonis of Argentina during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
His title defence got off to a soggy start on Saturday night when play was suspended because of rain showers with Federer up a set and tied 2-2 in the second.
The storm clouds rolled in just before the start of their match on Saturday and after a short delay to start the first set they managed to play until the heavy rain came in the second. After another 90-minute delay organisers suspended play for the night. Federer is making his 17th appearance in the California desert and is assured of remaining world number one if he makes it to the semifinals in Indian Wells.
He extended his 2018 win streak to 13 matches and has only dropped three sets from 34 played this year. Federer will face 25th-seed Filip Krajinovic in the third round.
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.
He is making a cautious return to the ATP Tour after stopping his 2017 season following Wimbledon, due to a right elbow injury.
“For me it felt like first match I ever played on the tour. Very weird,” Djokovic said. “I mean, I just completely lost rhythm, everything. Just struggled also a little bit with the health the last couple of weeks.”
Djokovic scrambled to win the second set but looked rusty on stadium court, making 62 unforced errors compared to 29 for Daniel.
Djokovic had four aces but overall he served poorly making four double faults and winning just 65 per cent of his first-serve points.
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. – AFP