Kyrgios Snaps Djokovic's Indian Wells Win Streak
A phenomenal serving display from Nick Kyrgios on Wednesday saw him end Novak Djokovic’s 19-match winning streak at the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-4, 7-6(3) victory in the fourth round at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Five-time former champion Djokovic had won the title in the desert the past three years, with his last defeat coming against Juan Martin del Potro in the 2013 semi-finals. But Djokovic's campaign ended at the hands of an inspired Kyrgios, whose serve did not let up throughout the one-hour, 52-minute contest.
“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 earlier, few weeks ago, he served so well. 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,” Djokovic said. “He obviously comes out playing his style, very aggressive, and just going for every serve, whether it's first or second. It's obviously very hard to play like that.”
It is Kyrgios' second win in three weeks over Djokovic, after his victory against the Serbian in the Acapulco quarter-finals, where again his serve was too hot to handle for the World No. 2. The Canberra native is only the second player, after Lleyton Hewitt, to beat Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in their first tour-level meetings.
The path forward doesn’t get any easier for Kyrgios in the ‘Group of Death’ as he next faces the winner of the highly-anticipated clash between Federer and Nadal. Kyrgios is bidding to reach his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final, after reaching the last four in Miami last year (l. to Nishikori).
The 21-year-old Kyrgios showed flashes of his best tennis in a straight-sets win over #NextGenATP star Alexander Zverev on Tuesday and brought his A-game again against Djokovic. The Australian broke Djokovic in the first game of the match and had chances for a double break in the third and seventh games.
He was credited for his strong serving in his victory over Djokovic in Acapulco, and again was dominant behind his delivery, losing only seven points in the first set – just two behind his first serve. He closed out the opener with his seventh ace of the contest.
Djokovic was afforded no break-point opportunities in the second set and fended off two from Kyrgios in the 11th game to force a tie-break. The Australian dominated, though, clocking one serve at 141 mph, and closing it out with another huge serve that Djokovic could not return.
“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, it's hard to position yourself well... It is a gamble,” Djokovic said. “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.”
Since winning the Doha title against Andy Murray at the start of the season, Djokovic has failed to reach the semi-finals in his following three tournaments, suffering a shock second-round defeat to Denis Istomin at the Australian Open. The Serbian notched his 300th Masters 1000 win on Tuesday when he overcame Juan Martin del Potro in three sets.