Kohlschreiber Stuns Djokovic At Indian Wells

INDIAN WELLS, March 13, 2019 (by Sharada Rajagopalan)

A few routine outcomes were scattered among Wednesday’s men’s singles results at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. But a certain subtext dotted the day’s play keeping in-line with what has been happening in the periphery of the tournament, thus far.

First things first, though. The usual favourites, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal won their respective third-round matches against Stan Wawrinka and Diego Schwartzman. Of the two matches, the Swiss derby was much eagerly-awaited given that this was the 25th meeting between the two friends, former doubles partners, and fellow Davis Cup champions. Wawrinka may have started peaking again, after injuries and what-not but Federer was in no mood for letting up as he picked up a 6-3, 6-4 win in 59 minutes.

Nadal, on the other hand, was even more ruthless claiming a 6-3, 6-1 over the Argentine whose fan following is steadily increasing (if one were to pay close attention to social media). Thanks to Federer and Nadal though, the bottom-half of the men’s singles draw as started to sag under its own weight, adding to the absence of player strength in the top-half, courtesy of myriad upsets.

Kohlschreiber knocks out Djokovic

The latter, then, offers a good segue into the subject of undertone governing one other result. Like Philipp Kohlschreiber’s 6-4, 6-4 upset of Novak Djokovic in their third-round match, which had to be postponed to Wednesday, after Tuesday’s rain delay. The German’s win put him as the oldest player to claim his first win over a reigning World No. 1 and the third-oldest player after – Federer and Ivo Karlovic – to win a match against the top-ranked player in the world. It was also his first win over Djokovic since the third round of the 2009 French Open. It’s been quite a while, then.

“It’s a very special win today,” Kohlschreiber was quoted on the ATP Tour website. “I had a great strategy to play against him. I had two good wins [entering the match]. So everything came together. [It’s] very special to beat the No. 1. Unfortunately the tournament is not over. I have to get back tomorrow with a great mindset. Today I want to take the moment, celebrate with my coach. I’ve got a lot of messages. I know it’s a very special victory today.”

All this is hunky-dory. In some corners, though, the loss has been interpreted as a distraction brought about by the ‘Kermode kerfuffle’. Still, Djokovic is alive and thriving in the doubles draw – with partner Fabio Fognini – so who knows, he may win a title in 2019 Indian Wells after all.

Shapovalov with post-match performance

The day, however, belonged to Denis Shapovalov. The Canadian upset the 10th seed Marin Cilic in the third round and went on regale the gathered spectators with a rap song. What with Stefanos Tsitsipas waxing philosophy (which are, at times, inane) like a modern-day Greek philosopher and Shapovalov now rapping away, the future of men’s tennis looks to be in quirky hands, indeed.