Grigor Dimitrov’s results at Indian Wells have not been the greatest and this year he maintained that record falling to Fernando Verdasco in the second round after receiving as the fourth seed, an opening round bye.
The Bulgarian battled for two-hours and six-minutes but was unable to defuse the more aggressive game deployed by the 34-year-old Spaniard who romped through to the third round 6-7(4) 6-4 6-3 having saved seven out of ten break points and broken Dimitrov three times having briefly faltered when he had a chance to go 3-0 up in the second set.
I knew that I just needed to keep pushing hard the serve. So I just went for it and it went well Fernando Verdasco
Dimitrov had an opportunity to level the deciding set at 4-all but a double fault, followed by a huge forehand error, handed the final crucial break for Verdasco to serve out and claim his 116th Masters 1000 win to make a third round appearance for a fifth consecutive year at Indian Wells.
“After the tiebreak, I was just a little bit more solid than him.
“I knew that I just needed to keep pushing hard the serve. So I just went for it and it went well.
“So, you know, I think that was the key at the end; that at the end of third set I served better than him. So I been able to break him and then close the match with that.”
Other upsets included the No. 16 seeded Fabio Fognini who lost to Jeremy Chardy 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 as well as Andrey Rublev (27) who went out to Taylor Fritz 6-4 7-6(4).
Fritz needed 93-minutes to dispatch the young Russian with a big future in what was close match with the American winning five more points overall than his opponent.
Fritz converted his second match point with a backhand return winner to set up third round meeting with Verdasco.
Rain marred play during the latter part of the day which ended with Roger Federer’s match against Federico Delbonis being suspended with the score standing at 6-3 2-2 in the Swiss’ favour.
Rain delayed the start and while both players sat in their chair waiting for the weather to clear Federer decided that the wait was unnecessary. He went to the umpire Ali Nili and asked whether play had stopped on the other courts.
“Are they playing on the other courts?” Federer asked. “I don’t know anymore,” Nili replied.
The top seed then turned to Delbonis and asked him if he wished the match to get started despite the light rain conditions.
“I can start but if you don’t wanna start we don’t have to,” Federer said. The pair agreed but by the time the match reached 2-all in the second the conditions got too heavy and was halted to be finished the following day.
Filip Krajinovic awaits the winner in the third round after the 25th seed beat American qualifier Mitchell Krueger 6-2 6-2.
Meanwhile, Dominic Thiem was taken to three sets by up-and-coming youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas in his opening match, winning 6-2 3-6 6-3.
Australian Open semi-finalist Hyeon Chung also needed three sets to beat Dusan Lajovic, 6-7(9) 6-3 6-3 in two hours and 48 minutes.
US Open runner-up and seventh seed Kevin Anderson also advanced as he beat Evgeny Donskoy 7-5 6-4 while the 12th seeded Tomas Berdych claimed a straightforward 6-1 6-4 win over German Maximillian Narterer and Pablo Cuevas beat Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov 7-6(4) 6-3.