Time champ Djokovic loses at Miami Open to Benoit Paire

"I'm not feeling great when I'm playing this way", said Djokovic, who was seeded ninth in Miami. He was just coming up with the good shots at the right time. Unfortunately, I'm not at the level they would like to see me at and I would like to see myself at.

Also victorious Friday was second-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic, who cruised past Frenchman Pierre-Hughes Herbert 7-5, 6-3. I'm aware of that. The 29-year-old Argentine showed why he is the hottest player on the ATP Tour right now with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Robin Haase in his second round match.

Later in Wimbledon he retired during his match with Thomas Berdych in the quarters due to an elbow injury, an issue he said has been bothering him for over a year.

The German, ranked fifth in the world, was a Masters champion in Rome and Montreal a year ago but has just one semi-final to his name in 2018 and was beaten by Joao Sousa in the second round in Indian Wells.

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro is also through as the Indian Wells Masters victor overcame Dutchman Robin Haase 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. He was sidelined again after this year's Australian Open and said he had a "small medical intervention" on his elbow.

A 12-time Grand Slam champion with his last major title being a coveted French Open victory in June of 2016, Djokovic is in new territory as a player without a firm grasp on his immediate future. And on Friday afternoon, he lost his third consecutive match, something he had not done since the end of the 2007 season, when he dropped his final five matches. Another dismal stretch came when he was broken at love in the final game of the match.

BC-TEN-Miami Open, 1st Ld, 1336-time champ Djokovic loses at Miami Open to Benoit PaireAP Photo FLLS122, FLLS103Eds: APNewsNow. "The truth is that it wasn't easy". I wanted to get a couple of tournaments before the clay court season starts. Obviously I compromised my game and the movement and everything because of the injury. I'm trying to figure things out and see what happens.' Djokovic is committed to play the Monte Carlo Masters. I lost to a better player.

Federer, a three-time champion in Miami, has not suffered defeat this early in Key Biscayne since 2000 when as an unseeded teenager he was beaten by Mariano Zabaleta.

  • Angelo Rivera