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Novak Djokovic ousted in Indian Wells

Novak Djokovic ousted in Indian Wells

Federer returned on Sunday afternoon and needed an hour to close out his second-round victory 6-3 7-6 (8/6).

"It felt like the first match I have ever played on the tour, very weird", the 12-times grand slam champion told reporters.

A lot was expected of Djokovic, but the Serb was rusty and made 61 unforced errors in the match against Daniel that lasted two hours and 30 minutes.

Federico was off to a better start in set number two, holding easily in the opening two service games to be leveled at 2-2 before the rain started to fall, forcing the organizers to call it a day and move the match into Sunday's program. The Melbourne event was Djokovic's first since Wimbledon last summer, as he was sidelined due to the elbow ailment that ultimately led to the operation.

"I was not even supposed to be here because of the surgery that was only five, six weeks ago", said Djokovic. "Now we're in Indian Wells and that's my focus and not what I have achieved in the past". Just struggled also a little bit with the health the last couple of weeks.

Federer continued: "I wasn't playing that good in my first [opening] round. Just one of those days when you're not able to find the rhythm from the baseline, especially the backhand side".

"Just some inexplicable, uncharacteristic errors, but that's I guess all part of those particular circumstances that I'm in at the moment".

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Kasatkina has beaten all four of the current Grand Slam champions in the past year: French Open victor Jelena Ostapenko, Australian Open victor Caroline Wozniacki, Wimbledon victor Garbine Muguruza and now Stephens. But the Argentine backed Djokovic to recover. "And if his body feels good, the tennis comes along and the confidence comes along too".

"When you do come back from injury or when you haven't played in a long time, it just takes extra effort".

"But he's strong enough to deal with that, and I love him and I want to see him in the top positions very soon".

Swiss superstar Federer must reach the semifinals at Indian Wells to stay atop the ATP summit ahead of rival Rafael Nadal.

4-6 6-1 in the second-round tie on his first appearance since an injury ended his Australian Open challenge in January.

As for Djokovic, the question now is whether he will play in Miami later this month.