Indian Wells D6 wrap: Nardi nails Djoker in giant upset

LAST month Italian Luca Nardi lost to the 409th ranked Ramkumar Ramanathan in a Challenger event in India, and today the 20-year-old stunned world number one Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells. Becoming the lowest ranked player to defeat Djokovic at a Masters 1000 or Grand Slam since 2008, Nardi shocked the tennis world with a three-set victory over the Serbian star.

Djokovic looked well below his best in what was just his second match since his Australian Open semi-final, but Nardi did not hold back in his attack. The Italian won 6-4 3-6 6-3, hitting 36 winners to 18, including 21 off his forehand side. By comparison, Djokovic only managed 11 off his forehand, and hit 31 unforced errors in the loss, while only returning two thirds of Nardi’s serve.

Perhaps the most incredible element was the fact the 20-year-old came from qualifying, lost then gained a second chance. Having a 3-12 main draw record on the ATP Tour coming into the tournament, Nardi has strung back-to-back wins to reach the fourth round of the ATP 1000 tournament.

“I think that before this night no one knew me,” Nardi said post-match. “I hope that the crowd enjoyed the game. I’m super happy with this one.”

The match had an incredible finish with Nardi breaking in the sixth game to go 4-2 up, and then after being 0-30 down the next game, held to move within one game of the match. Djokovic produced a commanding performance on serve, and then won the first point of Nardi’s service game as the Italian served for the match.

When he brought up two match points, Nardi had a shaky moment on serve, tossing the ball up but mistiming it so he had another crack. Then he produced an incredible unreturnable serve to win the match.

“I don’t know [how I held my nerve],” Nardi said. “I think it is a miracle, because I am a 20-year-old guy, 100 in the world, and beating Novak. It’s crazy.”

For the first time in his career Nardi will enter the Top 100 on Monday, rising 27 places up to 96th in the world. He is not done yet though, clashing with 17th seed Tommy Paul in the Round of 16. Nardi is one of just three unseeded players left in the draw, with Frenchman Gael Monfils winning against 28th seed Cameron Norrie in the only other upset of day six.


[LL] Luca Nardi (ITA) defeated [1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) 6-4 3-6 6-3
[4] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [29] Sebastian Korda (USA) 6-4 5-7 6-3
[7] Holger Rune (DEN) defeated [26] Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 6-2 7-6
[9] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Arthur Fils (FRA) 6-2 6-4
[12] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated [19] Sebastian Baez (ARG) 6-2 6-2
[13] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated [21] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3 6-3
[17] Tommy Paul (USA) defeated [14] Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-4 6-4
Gael Monfils (FRA) defeated [28] Cameron Norrie (GBR) 6-7 7-6 6-3

After a couple of days of upsets in the women’s singles, the Indian Wells results on day six went back to the script. The two top three players in Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff both won through in straight sets to reach the Round of 16, defeating Emma Raducanu and Lucia Bronzetti respectively.

Most of the others to advance were seeded players, with only Frenchwoman Diane Parry and Chinese talent Yue Yuan the non-seeded players to advance. Otherwise ninth seeded Maria Sakkari got past Caroline Garcia and Daria Kasatkina came from a set down to defeat Sloane Stephens.

In the other matches, 24th seeded Belgian Elise Mertens ended the run of Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka in a tough two-set match, while Emma Navarro continued her great form to knock off former world number one, Elina Svitolina.


[2] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated [WC] Emma Raducanu (GBR) 6-3 7-5
[3] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Lucia Bronzetti (ITA) 6-2 7-6
[9] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated [20] Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-3 6-4
[11] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Sloane Stephens (USA) 2-6 6-4 6-4
[23] Emma Navarro (USA) defeated [16] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-1 4-6 6-3
[24] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Naomi Osaka (JPN) 7-5 6-4
Diane Parry (FRA) defeated Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-4 6-3
Yue Yuan (CHN) defeated Caroline Dolehide (USA) 1-6 6-4 7-6

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