Bhambri sends Pouille packing, Novak loses

Roger Federer in action on Sunday

Indian Wells: Novak Djokovic produced a puzzling performance as the former world No. 1 lost to Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in the second round at the BNP Paribas Open in California on Sunday.

On his return from right elbow surgery, Djokovic looked a pale shadow of his former self as he went down 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1 to make a quick exit from a tournament he has won five times.

Indian Davis Cupper Yuki Bhambri registered the biggest win of his career as he toppled world No. 12 Lucas Pouille to breeze into the third round. In a stunning performance, the 110th-ranked Yuki, who qualified for the main draw, dispatched the ninth seed Frenchman 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 19 minutes.

"I served well and played aggressive which was the key," Bhambri said. "I just kept going at him and taking my chances which thankfully paid off," he said further.

Asked how he has started doing extremely well against top players of late, considering that now he has two wins over top-25 players in last six months, Bhambri said: "I have had an opportunity to play them. If I keep giving myself the opportunity on the big stage, I will grab some of them. I would like to keep being consistent with it."

He will next take on American world No. 21 Sam Querry, who ousted Germany's Mischa Zverev 6-4, 7-5.

After the defeat Novak told mediapersons" "It felt like the first match I have ever played on the tour, very weird. I just completely lost rhythm, everything, struggled a little bit with the health the last couple of weeks."

Djokovic took six months off after Wimbledon last year and returned in January's Australian Open where he lost in the fourth round. He had surgery in Switzerland shortly after that.

"I was grateful to be out on the court after surgery that quickly but at the same time just didn't feel good at all," he added. "Nerves were there. I made so many unforced errors."

Holder Roger Federer avoided the same fate as Djokovic, though the Swiss top seed was pushed by left-handed Argentine Federico Delbonis in a match that was completed on Sunday after being halted by rain at 2-2 in the second set the previous day.

The top seed fended off a set point in the tie-break to beat Delbonis 6-3, 7-6(6).

Federer, meanwhile, insists Djokovic will 'only get better from here'.

"To me, his loss is not that surprising," Federer said. "When you go away from the game for over a two-month period, it starts feeling a little bit that way. When you do come back from injury or when you haven't played in a long time, it just takes extra effort.

"It is still early stages for Novak coming back and the first one after surgery. He's only going to get better from here." Agencies


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