Indian Wells 2019: Novak Djokovic crashes out to Philipp Kohlschreiber
Five-time Indian Wells champion, Novak Djokovic suffered a pre-mature exit when he lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in round 3 of the tournament on Tuesday. Djokovic lost in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, as the world number one failed to make an impact in the opening ATP Masters tournament of the season. Meanwhile, Kohlschreiber will face Gael Monfils in the pre-quarters.
While Nole was playing his first tournament since his Australian Open win in January, he also went into the match with an 8-1 head-to-head lead. Notably, the match was delayed by rain on Monday, as Kohlschreiber was confident and displayed crisp gameplay on Tuesday morning. He broke Nole at 4-2 in the opening set, and twice in the second to win the match.
Speaking on his victory over Nole, Kohlschreiber said, "I think I put out a pretty good strategy on the court, very clever serve, good return game -- it was a good day."
While it is being assumed it was just one of the bad days for Nole, there are debates that Nole was under pressure due to off-field controversy. He has been at loggerheads with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal regarding the appointment of ATP Chairman. While Federer and Nadal have voted against having Chris Kermode as ATP Chairman, Player's Council President Djokovic has backed Kermode.
While Nole rests for a week, he would be in action in Masters again in Miami from March 18, before the clay season begins. Nonetheless, Djokovic's Indian Wells campaign is not yet completely over as he is still alive in the doubles, where he, along with his partner Fabio Fognini beat the pair of Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in the quarter-finals.
Among the other games, Federer and Nadal won their respective games, against Stan Wawrinka (6-3, 6-4) and Diego Schwartzman (6-3, 6-1). Among women, Venus Williams won her pre-quarters tie against Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-4, while Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka was shockingly beaten by Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-1. Nonetheless, other women like Garbine Muguruza, Karolína Pliskova and Angelique Kerber qualified for the quarters.