Novak Djokovic has won 12 Grand Slam titles and is a five-time champion at the BNP Paribas Open, but his vast experience did him no good Sunday against qualifier Taro Daniel of Japan.
“For me, it felt like the first match I ever played on the tour,” Djokovic said. “Very weird.”
So was the outcome — a 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1 victory for the stunned Daniel, who ranks 109th in the world. This was only the second tournament of the year for Djokovic, who underwent what he called “a small medical intervention” on his injured elbow about six weeks ago, but he didn’t use that as an excuse.
“He’s known around the tour for being a great fighter and just trying to get every ball back,”...