Crafty Kyrgios has Novak's number
Aussie outduels Djokovic for second time in as many weeks
Nick Kyrgios reacts after vanquishing Novak Djokovic at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on Wednesday. The Australian next faces Roger Federer for a place in the final four. [Photo/Agencies]
INDIAN WELLS, California - Nick Kyrgios overpowered Novak Djokovic for the second time in two weeks on Wednesday to book an Indian Wells quarterfinal against Roger Federer, who swatted aside old foe Rafael Nadal.
Kyrgios combined brilliant serving and relentless aggression en route to a 6-4, 7-6 (3) triumph that ended a 19-match winning streak for three-time defending champion Djokovic in the first Masters tournament of the year.
Federer, who added another chapter to his storied rivalry with Nadal with an epic Australian Open triumph in January, dismantled the Spaniard 6-2, 6-3.
It was the first time since their first match in 2004 that Federer and Nadal had met before the quarterfinals of a tournament. An oddity of the rankings had the pair and Djokovic - with 44 Grand Slam titles between them - all grouped in the same quarter of the draw.
Djokovic was the first to fall, in the face of non-stop offense from world No 16 Kyrgios.
"The run was amazing," said Djokovic, who won at Indian Wells in 2008 and 2011 before going on his roll from 2014-2016. "I am very proud of it. It had to end at some stage. Unfortunately, it was today."
Kyrgios, 21, couldn't match the 25 aces he rained on Djokovic in a stunning victory in Acapulco earlier this month, but 14 aces were plenty as he kept the Serb off balance with a barrage of 100 mph-plus serves.
"It felt good to kind of prove it wasn't a one-off thing," Kyrgios said. "It felt good to back it up again."
Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand during his straight set defeat by Nick Kyrgios of Australia in their fourth round match during day ten of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 15, 2017 in Indian Wells, California. [Photo/VCG]
A break in the first game of the match was enough to give Kyrgios the opening set.
Djokovic saved two break points late in the second set as they battled to the tiebreaker, but Kyrgios dominated at the net and sealed the win with a final monster serve.
Already the youngest player to record victories over Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, Kyrgios now gets another crack at Federer, who reprised his Australian Open form to crush Nadal.
In the 36th career meeting between the two superstars, Federer needed just 68 minutes to advance.
"For me, it was all about coming out and trying to play the way I did in Australia," said Federer, who beat Nadal in a five-set thriller to lift the title in Melbourne in January.
"I didn't think it was going to be possible, to be quite honest, because the court is more jumpy here or more rough, let's say, so it's hard to put the ball away."
Although he captured his 18th Grand Slam title in Melbourne, 35-year-old Federer said he still considers himself on the comeback trail after knee surgery sidelined him for much of 2016.
His Australian Open triumph was followed by a loss to world No 116 Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai, where Federer said he was still feeling a hangover from his exploits Down Under.
Upon arrival at Indian Wells, where he has lifted the trophy four times, Federer said he had regained his energy and was ready to play the attacking style demanded by the venue.
"It's hard to dig your way out of defense, because the ball doesn't skid on you as an attacker, but I think I did well again today.
"In a best-of-three-set match, getting in the lead was crucial, and then staying on the offense and pressing was the goal for me.
"I was able to hold my serve, and Rafa couldn't find a way to get into my service games more frequently. Next thing you know, it's all over."
The victory marked the first time in a rivalry stretching back to 2004 that Federer has strung together three straight wins over Nadal. He beat the Spaniard in the final at Basel in 2015 and in Melbourne in their most recent contests.