Indian Wells – Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel sent five-time tournament champion Novak Djokovic tumbling out of the Indian Wells Masters with a hard-fought 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-1 victory on Sunday.
It was another snag in the return for the 30-year-old Djokovic who admitted he was out of sorts while playing in just his second event of 2018.
He is making a cautious return to the ATP Tour after stopping his 2017 season following Wimbledon, due to a right elbow injury.
"For me it felt like first match I ever played on the tour. Very weird," Djokovic said. "I mean, I just completely lost rhythm, everything. Just struggled also a little bit with the health the last couple of weeks."
Djokovic scrambled to win the second set but looked rusty on stadium court, making 62 unforced errors compared to 29 for Daniel.
Djokovic had four aces but overall he served poorly making four double faults and winning just 65 percent of his first-serve points.
Daniel, who is ranked 109th in the world, advanced to the third round where he will face Gael Monfils of France who outlasted American John Isner 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3), 7-5.
Results on Saturday on the fifth day of the ATP and WTA Indian Wells tournament:
Roger Federer (SUI x1) bt Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-3, 7-6 (8/6)
Feliciano Lopez (ESP x28) bt Ernesto Escobedo (USA) 6-4, 6-3
Sam Querrey (USA x18) bt Mischa Zverev (GER) 6-4, 7-5
Yuki Bhambri (IND) bt Lucas Pouille (FRA x9) 6-4, 6-4
Dudi Sela (ISR) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR x21) 6-4, 6-4
Milos Raonic (CAN x32) bt Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 6-4, 6-4
David Ferrer (ESP x29) bt Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) bt Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) 6-4, 6-1
Taro Daniel (JPN) bt Novak Djokovic (SRB x10) 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-1
Gael Monfils (FRA) bt John Isner (USA x15) 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3), 7-5
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) bt Gilles Muller (LUX x24) 6-3, 7-5
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x31) bt Tim Smyczek (USA) 1-6, 6-4, 6-4
Marin Cilic (CRO x2) bt Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 7-5, 6-3
Simona Halep (ROM x1) bt Caroline Dolehide (USA) 1-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2
Wang Qiang (CHN) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA x14) 6-1, 6-2
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) bt Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 6-2, 6-2
Petra Martic (CRO) bt Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x6) 6-3, 6-3
Maria Sakkari (GRE) bt Coco Vandeweghe (USA x17) 6-2, 6-4
Amanda Anisimova (USA) bt Petra Kvitova (CZE x9) 6-2, 6-4
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x5) bt Zhang Shuai (CHN x32) 7-5, 5-7, 6-3
Angelique Kerber (GER x10) bt Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Sloane Stephens (USA x13) bt Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 6-1, 7-5