Novak Djokovic's struggles continue with Indian Wells defeat

Roger Federer

Novak Djokovic lost on his return to competitive tennis to Taro Daniel in the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

Stephens, who won her first major at Flushing Meadows last fall, lost in the first rounds at the Australian Open and in Sydney before reaching the quarterfinals at Acapulco.

Federer said he understands well how even a champion like Djokovic could be struggling to find his game so soon after having surgery. "Very weird. I completely lost rhythm", said the Serb.

Djokovic scrambled to win the second set on Sunday but the rust from the layoff was evident as he made 62 unforced errors overall.

"I was grateful to be out on the court after surgery that quickly but at the same time just didn't feel good at all".

South Korea's Hyeon Chung, who surpassed all expectations to reach the Australian Open semi-finals earlier this year, also advanced, taking almost three hours to overcome Dusan Lajovic 6-7 (11/9) 6-3 6-3. "So talking about faster, I just think there is more bounce to it, especially if you play someone who has a lot of spin like he has and kicks the ball around a lot".

Daniel's reward is a third-round match with Leonardo Mayer after his opponent Kei Nishikori pulled out through illness.

Serena sets up showdown with sister
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Djokovic, meanwhile, is scheduled to compete in the Miami Open in just over a week.

The match was carried over from Saturday after rain force play to end early with Federer one set up and the scores locked at 2-2 in the second.

Retaining the world No. 1 ranking is the furthest thing from Roger Federer's mind as he bids to defend his Indian Wells crown.

But Verdasco struck when it mattered, taking a 5-3 lead in the deciding set after breaking the Bulgarian and securing the match on the second match-point. World number three Marin Cilic also won Sunday, defeating Marton Fucsovics in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3.

On the women's side, top-ranked Simona Halep came back to top 19-year-old Caroline Dolehide 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2 in just over two hours.

In other third-round matches, No. 7 Caroline Garcia of France beat 26th-seeded Daria Gavrilova of Australia 7-5, 6-4; No. 10 Angelique Kerber of Germany defeated No. 24 Elena Vesnina of Russian Federation 7-5, 6-2; and American Danielle Collins continued her run with a 6-4, 6-4 win over fellow wild card Sofya Zhuk of Russian Federation.

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