Roger Federer defies logic with backhand slice

Don't sleep Novak Djokovic could win it all at Indian Wells Masters

Storm clouds rolled in just before the start of their match on Saturday and after a short delay to start the first set they managed to play until the heavy rains came in the second.

Djokovic was sidelined with his elbow issue for six months in the second half of last season, and Indian Wells is just his second event in nine months. "That is as head scratching as anything you'll see".

Roger Federer insists he is taking nothing for granted after moving a step closer to a sixth Indian Wells title in California.

"For me it felt like first match I ever played on the tour", said Djokovic. I just completely lost rhythm, everything.

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.

He was uncharacteristically sloppy - as in 40 unforced errors sloppy. He had surgery in Switzerland shortly after that.

Dimitrov, victor of the ATP World Tour Finals in 2017, lost the first set on a tie-break 7/4 but took the second 6-4 after breaking the 34-year-old on both of his first two service games.

Federer staved off a set point in the tiebreak to beat Delbonis 6-3 7-6 (6).

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"At the same time, I enjoy playing the guy, just because it's one of the ultimate challenges to play Novak, Andy, Rafa, Stan, you name it, all these guys".

"The nighttime is much deader".

Federer continued: "I wasn't playing that good in my first [opening] round. The surface doesn't react so much".

The 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-1 loss resulted in a quick exit from a tournament the Serbian has won five times.

Isner, the 15th seed, frittered away seven break points, while Monfils converted one of his three opportunities, which proved enough.

In other action, Sam Querrey (18) went through after beating Mischa Zverev 6-4, 7-5, while Lucas Pouille of France (9) lost out to Yuki Bhambri of India 6-4, 6-4.

Kevin Anderson beat Nicholas Kicker 7-6 (1), 7-6 (3) while Tomas Berdych was defeated in straight sets by Chung Hyeon.

The tournament also lost Japan's Kei Nishikori, who withdrew through illness.

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