Taro Daniel took advantage of Novak Djokovic not being at his best

Taro Daniel took advantage of Novak Djokovic not being at his best

With rivals Rafa Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray electing not to enter the tournament, and Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori both out of the running, the path appears clear for the Swiss to win a record sixth Indian Wells title.

American Taylor Fritz outlasted Fernando Verdasco of Spain 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (1).

But it was only a brief reprieve for Krajinovic, as the world number one romped into the next round in emphatic fashion. Djokovic missed the last five months of the previous campaign to recover from his injury, but was unable to get back to his best despite months of rehabilitation.

Roger Federer has backed Novak Djokovic to return to form despite a disappointing showing at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

"He hasn't got the biggest serve out there so you get a lot of looks to break and when you have momentum on your side - not only serving but from the baseline, things go very quickly".

"I actually was explosive out there today and I felt good", he said.

"And even though you don't have pain, you're still thinking about it, because it's been something that I have been feeling and dragging for over two years".

Daniel came back from a break down to take the first set in a tiebreak, and he limited mistakes in the third to secure the upset.

Djokovic's performance in the final set against the world's 109th-ranked player on centre court raised some eyebrows, with four-times grand slam champion Jim Courier saying the Serb had "capitulated". Still, picking against Federer in his current form isn't an option.

The Swiss legend paints brushstrokes on the court with his artistry.

Djokovic took six months off after Wimbledon previous year and returned in January's Australian Open where he lost in the fourth round.

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