Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion who lost to Federer in the final of this year's Australian Open, eased to a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Marton Fucsovics.
"You're only really as good as your last match", Federer said.
The 12-time major victor led 5-2 in the opener, but Daniel fought back well to clinch the first set on a tie-break, and although Djokovic pulled level, 61 unforced errors from the five-time champion saw Daniel clinch victory after two-and-a-half hours. Also have a Foundation trip I'm doing at that time, so I'm planning that a little bit. He had four aces but served poorly overall, making four double faults.
The match was carried over from Saturday after rain force play to end early with Federer one set up and the scores locked at 2-2 in the second.
"It's been a long time since I have been interrupted at night and have to come back the next day", Federer said.
Djokovic was beaten 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-1 by the 25-year old qualifier in his first competitive match since losing in the last 16 at Melbourne.
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Federer is making his 17th appearance in the California desert and is assured of remaining world No. 1 if he makes it to the semifinals.
Federer improved to 65-5 since returning from a left knee injury previous year with his third-round victory in a rare day match Monday.
Federer said he understands well how even a champion like Djokovic could be struggling to find his game so soon after having surgery.
The match started after a two-hour-plus delay and the Swiss raced away to bag the first set 6-3 but rain played spoilsport and stopped the game at 2-2 in the second set.
Roger Federer didn't rule out the clay season, at least not yet, he said yesterday at Indian Wells. "So I'm very happy how things are turning out to be". "So talking about faster, I just think there is more bounce to it, especially if you play someone who has a lot of spin like he has and kicks the ball around a lot".
If anyone knows what it is like to deal with injuries, it's Juan Martin del Potro - the career of the 2009 US Open victor has been ravaged by wrist injuries. I'm very sorry as I love this tournament.
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