In a match that he dominated physically, 21-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios defeated Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells, 6-4, 7-6(3).
It was the second time the sometimes mercurial Aussie defeated Djokovic in the last few weeks. Kyrgios managed to keep his temper and emotions in check as he dictated play to the World #2. The match itself was very curious as there was only one service break–in the first game of the first set. When asked about the challenge of the Kyrgios serve, Djokovic said, “On his first serves, to try to anticipate and read his serve, where he’s going to go 140 miles per hour down the T and also pretty good angle wide, so it’s hard to position yourself well. Let’s call it that way. It is a gamble. His second serve, if you think you’re going to have a look at it, you don’t, because he goes for it, as well. He didn’t make too many double faults. As I said, you know, in this kind of conditions, it’s quite suitable for the server.”
Coming off a controversial season last year, many wondered how Kyrgios would react to pressure. He seems to have handled it well, despite some disputes over line calls. Many believe he has all the tools to rank Top-10, but he needs to continue to work on his composure.
As for Djokovic, the loss today continues the wild ride he’s been on since last year. The defiant Djokovic we’ve come to expect seems to have exited the court. His usual assuredness has escaped him, along with his aura of invincibility. He continues to look for answers. This has not been a fun day for Novak Djokovic, as he and Troicki lost their quarter final doubles match to Klassen and Ram in three sets.
As for Kyrgios, he has another hurdle standing in his path to victory in the form of Roger Federer. The two have only met once, at 2015’s Madrid Masters 1000, where Kyrgios won in three tie-break sets. The clay match won by Kyrgios doesn’t assure an Indian Wells victory. Federer may be able to dial in to the Kyrgios serve and has been dictating from either wing.