INDIAN WELLS: Nick Kyrgios ended three-time champion Novak Djokovic’s reign at Indian Wells on Wednesday, toppling the world number two in the fourth round of the year’s first Masters event.
The 21-year-old Australian triumphed 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), notching his second victory over Djokovic in less than two weeks after stunning the Serb in their first career meeting at Acapulco.
Djokovic had won 19 straight matches at Indian Wells in winning the title in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He also won the title in the California desert in 2008 and 2011.
Kyrgios will get a shot at another big name in the quarter-finals. He’ll take on the winner of the fourth-round match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Kyrgios is already the youngest player to record victories over the tennis Big Five of Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.
“I felt like in Acapulco the conditions were a lot different. So I knew I had serve well again today,” Kyrgios said. “He’s such a great player and professional and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy at all.
“I’m just in a good space mentally,” added Kyrgios, whose explosive talent has often been overshadowed by his on-court antics. “I’m really happy, I’m trying really hard for every point and obviously I’m serving at a really high level.”
Kyrgios peppered Djokovic with 14 aces and the 14-time Grand Slam champion was clearly frustrated with his inability to make a dent in Kyrgios’s serve.
Djokovic couldn’t muster a break point against the Australian, who has yet to be broken in the tournament.
So it was do-or-die when Djokovic fended off two break points in the 11th game of the second set as they battled to the tiebreaker.
A backhand long on his own serve from Djokovic on the opening point of the tiebreaker gave Kyrgios a quick advantage. He stretched it to 3-0 with two service winners and raced home.
For Djokovic it was another disappointment in a year that started off promisingly with a title in Doha, but saw him shocked in the second round of the Australian Open. --AFP