Home » Indian Wells: Novak Djokovic knocked out by world No 123 Luca Nardi while Daniil Medvedev advances

Indian Wells: Novak Djokovic knocked out by world No 123 Luca Nardi while Daniil Medvedev advances

Luca Nardi stunned his boyhood idol and top-seeded Novak Djokovic with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday night.

Nardi, who’s ranked No 123, closed out his huge upset over the No 1 player in the rankings with an ace. The 20-year-old from Italy dropped his racket and brought his hands to his face almost in disbelief before greeting Djokovic at the net.

“This is a miracle,” Nardi said in an interview on the Tennis Channel. “I’m a 20-years-old guy, 100 in the world, and beating Novak. So, crazy. Crazy.”

Setting the tone early with his hard-hitting shots, Nardi frustrated Djokovic all evening. There was a moment when Nardi was surprised by an “in” call and casually hit the ball back over the net. It resulted in a winner and led to Djokovic complaining to the official about a potential hindrance.

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Novak Djokovic complains that Luca Nardi continued to play after seeming to react to a serve going out

Nardi had nearly been on his way home. He got into the field as a “lucky loser,” which is a player who stumbled on the final hurdle in qualifying but made it into the main draw as a replacement for an injured player who pulled out before the first round. In Nardi’s case, he stepped in for No. 30 Tomas Martin Etcheverry and received a bye through the opening round.

He went on to become the lowest-ranked player to beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam or ATP Masters 1000 level event, surpassing No 122 Kevin Anderson in 2008 in Miami.

Nardi had Djokovic, the 24-time Grand Slam singles champion that he grew up watching, smiling and shaking his head at times in a mixture of surprise and shock.

Luca Nardi talks with Novak Djokovic at the net after his upset win over the Serbian
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Luca Nardi talks with Novak Djokovic at the net after his upset win over the Serbian

“Before this night, no one knew me,” said Nardi, who will face American Tommy Paul in the round of 16. “I hope now the crowd enjoyed the game. I’m super happy with this one.”

Djokovic certainly didn’t know that much about Nardi, only what he gleaned watching him play. He knew Nardi had a strong baseline game, especially with the forehand, and moved well.

“He got in as a lucky loser’ to (the) main draw, so he really didn’t have anything to lose. So he played great,” Djokovic said. “Deserved to win. I was more surprised with my level. My level was really, really bad.”

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Highlights of the round of 32 match at the Indian Wells Open between Naomi Osaka and Elise Mertens

No 4 Daniil Medvedev’s was just good enough, as he edged No 29 Sebastian Korda 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 and will face No 13 Grigor Dimitrov.

Elsewhere No 9 seed Maria Sakkari beat French 20th seed Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-4, and 23rd-seeded Emma Navarro of the United States topped 16th-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

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