Tennis : BNP Paribas Open 2019 - Philipp kohlschreiber. Picture: REUTERS
Tennis : BNP Paribas Open 2019 - Philipp kohlschreiber. Picture: REUTERS

Indian Wells — Philipp Kohlschreiber stunned Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-4 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday, sending the world No 1 tumbling out of a tournament he had won five times.

The German punched the air in celebration after a video review confirmed that his forehand winner caught the line on match point to seal the upset victory in Indian Wells.

The top-seeded Serb, who had not dropped a set in four matches since the round of 16 at the Australian Open in January, looked out of sorts throughout the 98-minute contest. He committed 27 unforced errors, converted just one of his five break-point opportunities and destroyed his racquet at one point when frustration boiled over on a sunny day in the southern California desert.

His sloppy play did not diminish the 35-year-old Kohlschreiber’s joy at defeating a No 1-ranked player for the first time in his long career. “It’s a very special moment. Of course, playing the top guys is always a big pleasure, but most of the time they beat you,” Kohlschreiber said in an on-court interview. “Today, with Novak being No 1, top-seeded here, it’s a very incredible win for me.”

Djokovic tipped his cap to the veteran after the match. “He’s been around for so many years and he doesn’t really get overwhelmed by the occasion of playing on centre court,” he told reporters. “He’s proved he can win against top guys.”

Kohlschreiber will not have long to celebrate, however, as the overnight interruption of his match against Djokovic for rain meant he was due back on court for a fourth-round meeting with France’s Gael Monfils on Wednesday.

Djokovic’s loss came on the same day that women’s world No 1 Naomi Osaka saw her title defence hopes dashed, falling 6-3 6-1 to Belinda Bencic.

In another upset earlier, Pole Hubert Hurkacz fired 10 aces en route to a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over world No 7 Kei Nishikori of Japan to reach the fourth round. The 67th-ranked Hurkacz needed just over two hours to complete the comeback win over the 2014 US Open finalist. 

The 22-year-old will next face Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, who continued his run of dominant serving without being broken on his way to an impressive 6-4 6-2 win over 10th-seeded Croat Marin Cilic.

After the match Shapovalov expressed his appreciation for his fans by rapping a song from the sun-soaked court three. “Take care and good night, know this is good life, hot tubs and court time, Thursday we back alright!” he rapped, which got a roar of approval from the audience.

In another upset during the day session Russian 14th seed Daniil Medvedev fell 6-3 6-2 to Serbia’s world No 113 Filip Krajinovic. Krajinovic will be a big underdog when he faces world No 2 Rafa Nadal, who crushed Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-1 on the showcase court to reach the last 16.

World No 4 Roger Federer needed under an hour to defeat fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 6-3 6-4 and will next face Briton Kyle Edmund, who defeated Radu Albot in straight sets earlier in the day.

American John Isner never faced a break point during his comfortable 6-3 6-4 win over Guido Pella. The big-serving 2012 Indian Wells finalist will face Russian Karen Khachanov after he defeated countryman Andrey Rublev 7-5 6-3 in their fourth round match.

Reuters