Novak Djokovic Suffers Stunning Upset to Philipp Kohlschreiber at Indian Wells

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2019

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 12: Novak Djokovic of Serbia walks to his chair after smashing his racket after losing the first set against Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany during their men's singles third round match on day nine of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 12, 2019 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Philipp Kohlschreiber upset top-seeded Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in the third round of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.

It's the second time in 10 meetings Kohlschreiber downed the 15-time Grand Slam champion.

Kohlschreiber will now play Gael Monfils in the round of 16. The two have faced off 15 previous times, with Monfils winning on 13 occasions. They last met in the third round of the 2017 Australian Open, with Monfils winning in straight sets.

To put Tuesday's result in perspective, Djokovic had won the last four matches against Kohlschreiber and reeled off 12 straight games dating back to the 2016 Italian Open.

The match was originally scheduled for Monday night. Djokovic took a 1-0 lead in the first set before rain forced the two players back to the locker room. Tournament officials decided to cancel the night's action and return Tuesday.

Perhaps the delay hurt Djokovic's preparation because he wasn't himself at Indian Wells. He committed 32 unforced errors with 16 winners over the two sets against Kohlschreiber. He didn't hide his frustration with his performance either.

Tennis TV @TennisTV

Almost got there 👀 #BNPPO19 @DjokerNole https://t.co/GF2Z7VWBdC

Upon dropping the final point of the first set, Djokovic slammed his racket against his foot and snapped the frame.

In particular, Djokovic couldn't cope with Kohlschreiber's baseline game. The 35-year-old German hit his groundstrokes deep into the court, which helped to constantly keep Djokovic on the back foot and unable to dictate the pace.

Christopher Clarey @christophclarey

Djokovic struggling mightily to control his forehand under Kohlschreiber pressure (and sometimes when not under Kohlschreiber pressure). Down a set and a break

The break between sets did nothing to change the flow of the match. Kohlschreiber immediately broke Djokovic's serve and built a 3-1 lead. He broke Djokovic again to go up 5-2.

Nerves appeared to start getting to Kohlschreiber. Serving for the set, he was unable to put Djokovic away. A decisive third set looked to be in store after Djokovic trimmed the deficit further in the ninth game.

Kohlschreiber regained his cool to earn two championship points. His cross-court forehand winner sealed the victory. Djokovic used his replay challenge to review whether the ball was in, and the ball was shown to just clip the outside of the line.

Tennis TV @TennisTV

King @Kohlscribbler! The German shocks Djokovic 6-4 6-4 to notch a first win over the world No.1 since 2009! #BNPPO19 https://t.co/GZAkdyHitx

Kohlschreiber had the perfect game plan to attack Djokovic, and he didn't alter his approach as the match was turning in his favor. He could've grown more confident and attempted riskier shots to pile up the winners. Instead, he was content to pick his spots and let Djokovic unravel.