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14 March 2018, 02:08 | Anna Jefferson
GETTYDominic Thiem thinks Nadal is a better players than Federer
Djokovic was beaten 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-1 by qualifier Taro Daniel in one of the tournament's big shocks on Sunday, having been out of action since the Australian Open due to surgery on an elbow problem.
Federer returned to stadium court today afternoon and needed an hour to finish off his second round victory 6-3, 7-6 (8/6).
Djokovic was defeated by the enthusiasm of his rival, who did not miss the unique opportunity to win the game during the first time they played against each other.
Federer stressed it was always going to be hard for the six-time Australian victor to impress on his return from injury, which is why the 36-year-old was not surprised following Djokovic's struggle in Indian Wells.
Djokovic took six months off after Wimbledon past year and returned in January's Australian Open where he lost in the fourth round.
As his form began to dip at the end of 2016, Djokovic admitted that he had been affected by off-court issues that he hasn't elaborated on. Striking his groundstrokes with conviction and refusing to concede the momentum shift, the Japanese would benefit from 22 unforced errors by Djokovic to snatch the opener in a tie-break.
Federer has yet to lose his serve in the match, and he earned the only break of the opening set to grab a 3-1 lead.
"It's been a long time since I have been interrupted at night and have to come back the next day", Federer said.
Federer will now face 25th seed Filip Krajinovic in the third round. "Very weird. I mean, I just completely lost rhythm, everything". Off to a fantastic start on the 2018 ATP World Tour, it appears he is the undisputed player to beat in men's singles right now. Because if I change and I start to put, like, kind of like first, second serves in to try to play with first serve, but then also doesn't hurting him so much, maybe, you know, he was returning so much, like, on top of the line, if he connect two or three good returns, it was going to be tough. Verdasco, 34, is making his 15th straight appearance in Indian Wells and trying to improve on his 2009 quarter-final run.
Delbonis actually had a set point during the tiebreaker in the second set, but Federer thwarted off the threat and went on to win.
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