'I Was Dreaming About It, Now Its Real', Lucky Loser Nardi Stuns Djokovic In Indian Wells - Eastern Mirror
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‘I was dreaming about it, now its real’, lucky loser Nardi stuns Djokovic in Indian Wells

By IANS Updated: Mar 12, 2024 12:07 pm
'I was dreaming about it, now its real', lucky loser Nardi stuns Djokovic in Indian Wells
‘I was dreaming about it, now its real’, lucky loser Nardi stuns Djokovic in Indian Wells (IANS)

INDIAN WELLS — Luca Nardi, a 20-year-old Italian, who entered the Paribas Open main draw as a lucky loser, stunned the World No.1 Novak Djokovic in 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 17 minutes in the third round.

Last week Nardi lost in the final round of qualifying to David Goffin, but he got the call to enter the draw as a Lucky Loser when Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry pulled out of the draw.

The World No.123-ranked Italian becomes the lowest-ranked player in history to earn a win over Djokovic at a Masters 1000 or Grand Slam event. He is also the fourth lowest-ranked player to beat a reigning World No. 1 at a Masters 1000.

“I’m speechless. What can I say? Yesterday night I was dreaming about it, I was speaking with the coaches and dreaming about – now it’s real!” Nardi said in his on court interview late on Monday night.

The Italian, who is set to make his Top 100 debut next week thanks to his heroics, will move on to face American Tommy Paul in the Round of 16.

Djokovic saw his 11-match winning streak at ATP Masters 1000s snapped following his title runs in Cincinnati and Paris. He also suffered his first loss to a player outside the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings since a defeat to No. 109 Taro Daniel in 2018, also in Indian Wells.

Nardi, making his main draw debut at Indian Wells, was the better player in the opening set, as he parlayed a break of serve in the sixth game into a 6-4 stanza.

At 2-2 in the second set, after a trade of breaks, Djokovic began to assert himself, winning four of the final five games to force a decider, but the setback did not quiet Nardi.

The Italian pushed back in the third set, and soon scored the first break of serve for 4-2, causing the crowd to erupt at the thought of witnessing one of the biggest upsets in Paribas Open history.

Two games later it was done – Nardi dropped just three points in his final two service games, and Djokovic, the game’s best returner, could not summon the magic that has guided him to so many dramatic wins over the years.

“Congrats to him for particularly in the third set playing some great, great tennis. He got in as a Lucky Loser to the main draw, so he really didn’t have anything to lose, he played great and deserved to win.

“I was more surprised with my level. My level was really, really bad. That’s it, you know – these two things come together. He’s having a great day; I’m having a really bad day. Results as a negative outcome for me,” Djokovic said.

By IANS Updated: Mar 12, 2024 12:07:55 pm
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