Indian Wells | Djokovic makes a surprising exit.

Novak Djokovic, the five-time Indian Wells champion saw his run at this year’s first Masters event of the season, brought to an abrupt halt by the Lucky Loser entry from Italy, Luca Nardi, the 20-year-old currently ranked 123.

He really didn’t have anything to lose, so he played great. Deserved to win, Novak Djokovic

Djokovic, the top seed, is a player who likes to set records, but he will not like this one, as Nardi now becomes the lowest-ranked player ever to beat a world No.1 at Masters 1000 or Grand Slam level.

And it doesn’t end there for his current season has seen the Serbian play only three tournaments at which he has won 8 matches and has yet to make a final.

Playing the tournament for the first time since 2019, Djokovic was not happy with his performance.

“He really didn’t have anything to lose, so he played great. Deserved to win,” Djokovic said afterwards.

“I was more surprised with my level. My level was really, really bad.

“These two things come together. He’s having a great day, I’m having a really bad day.”

He also admitted: “Very poor performance from my side and no titles this year, that’s not something I’m used to.”

“I could have done everything differently.

“I was starting the season most of my career with a Grand Slam win or Dubai win or any other tournament.

“But it’s fine, it’s part of the sport and you just have to accept it. Some you win, some you lose. Hopefully, I will win some more. I’ll still keep going.

“I guess every trophy that eventually comes my way is going to be great, obviously to break the negative cycle a little bit that I’m having the last three to four tournaments where I haven’t been close to my best.”

Nardi hit 16 winners in the final set against just two from Djokovic as he won 6-4 3-6 6-3 after two-hours and 20-minutes of play.

Djokovic has now suffered three defeats this season to Nardi, Alex de Minaur at the United Cup and Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open semi-finals.

Luca Nardi hopes people will now know of him!

(Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

Nardi, following the biggest win of his career, will now face Tommy Paul of the US, who took out the inform Frenchman Ugo Humbert, this year’s winner at Marseilles and Dubai, 6-4 6-4.

His aggressive game paid off against Djokovic, especially in the third set. He missed three chances to break in the second game but then took his next opportunity to open up a 4-2 lead.

Djokovic could not get back into the match as Nardi closed out a “miracle win”.

“I made some really terrible unforced errors,” Djokovic continued.

“Just quite defensive tennis and not much on the ball in the third, and that’s it. He just stepped in and he used the time that he had.

“He was playing more free and more aggressive than I did and going for his shots, and that break on 3-2 in the third was enough.”

Meanwhile Nardi tried to remain level-headed.

“I think that before this night no one knew me,” said Nardi after just his fifth tour-level win.

“I hope that the crowd enjoyed the game. I’m super happy with this one.

“I think it is a miracle, because I am a 20-year-old guy, 100 in the world, and beating Novak. It’s crazy!”

Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev beat Sebastian Korda in a match that featured 16 breaks of serve.

Medvedev, who had 22 break points, won 6-4 5-7 6-3 to set up a fourth-round clash with 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov after the Bulgarian beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-3.

In other action seventh seed, Dane Holger Rune defeated another Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-2 7-6(5) in his opening match of the tournament, after receiving a walkover in the round of 64 against Canada’s Milos Raonic while home favourite and 2022 champion Taylor Fritz eased into the next round with a 6-2 6-2 win over Argentina’s Sebastian Baez.



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