Novak Djokovic says Nick Kyrgios’ impressive serving was the key to the world number two’s invincibility at the BNP Paribas Open coming to an end.
Djokovic was beaten at Indian Wells for the first time since 2013 as Kyrgios delivered a stunning 6-4 7-6 (7/3) win in the fourth round to set up a mouthwatering quarter-final with Roger Federer.
Djokovic’s defeat strengthens Andy Murray’s position at the top of the rankings, as the Serb drops a whopping 990 points compared to the 20 Murray loses for his second-round exit.
It was the second successive win for Krygios over the Serb, following victory in their first-ever meeting in Acapulco a fortnight ago and he earned it thanks to some monster serving. He sent down 14 aces, which included some second serves close to 120mph, won 85 per cent of points on his first serve and faced no break points.
Djokovic said in his post-match press conference: “The run was amazing. 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, served so well. I just wasn’t managing to get a lot of balls back on his serve, first and second, as well. That’s what made a difference.
A solitary break of serve of his own in the opening game of the match was enough to help Kyrgios win the first set and while Djokovic offered some brilliant tennis in response to take the second set to a tiebreak, the Australian raced to a 3-0 lead and did not look back.
He said on Sky Sports 1: “It feels good, I knew what I had to do today, it was always going to be tough, he is a great champion.
“It’s just another match for me I have to get ready for tomorrow. I am serving really well, that is creating chances for me to put pressure on their service games. My mentality is improving and I am trying really hard to fight for every point and just compete.”
Djokovic was forced to play less than 18 hours after coming through a three-set marathon against Juan Martin del Potro so he could be excused for having grievance with the schedule.
He preferred to keep his counsel, though, saying: “I don’t want to comment on that.”
World number three Stan Wawrinka was two points away from following Djokovic out, but he battled hard to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7/4).
The Japanese number two, who had made it through to the last 16 as a lucky loser, twice served for the match in the third set before three-time grand slam winner Wawrinka came good in a deciding tiebreak.
The Swiss is joined in the quarter-finals by fourth seed Kei Nishikori, who swept past Donald Young 6-2 6-4, but David Goffin, seeded 11th, is out after losing 6-3 3-6 6-3 to Pablo Cuevas.
Jack Sock is through to his first Masters 1000 quarter-final after beating Malek Jaziri 4-6 7-6 (7/1) 7-5 and Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta is also through, defeating Dusan Lajovic 6-4 7-6 (7/5).
Dominic Thiem completed the quarter-final line-up as he beat Gael Monfils in straight sets.
The defeat for Monfils comes as little surprise following a bizarre statement he put on Twitter on the morning of the match, where he declared his 2017 form “below my expectations”.
Thiem took advantage of some low confidence and eased to a 6-3 6-2 win, setting up a meeting with Warwinka.