Medvedev to lose No 1 ranking after third round defeat to Monfils at Indian Wells

Russian needed to reach the quarter-finals to retain top spot but went down 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 to his French opponent

In beating Daniil Medvedev at Indian Wells, it was the first time in 13 years that Gael Monfils has defeated the No 1-ranked player in the world. Getty
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Novak Djokovic will make a swift return to the top of the ATP rankings after Daniil Medvedev was defeated in the third round at Indian Wells by Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Medvedev took over the No 1 spot two weeks ago after Djokovic lost in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarter-finals, and the Russian needed to at least reach the last eight at Indian Wells to retain the top ranking. However, he fell to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to world No 28 Monfils.

Monfils let out a roar as he secured the upset on the sixth match point with a backhand winner to set up a meeting with Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz in the fourth round.

"I'm quite happy right now - I'm in my zone," Monfils said. "I moved quite good and then I changed the speed quite a lot."

The Frenchman handed Medvedev the break in the ninth game of the first set with a pair of double faults and two forehand errors, as the reigning US Open champion dropped just four points on his serve in the opener.

But Medvedev lost the momentum in the second set, unable to convert on five of six break point opportunities. Monfils broke him in the fourth game with a backhand winner and again in the eighth with a powerful forehand.

Overcoming obvious exhaustion, Monfils won the first four games of the final set as Medvedev was unable to set up a single break point opportunity. It was the first time in 13 years that the 35-year-old Monfils beat the No 1-ranked player in the world.

Twenty-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic will return to the top of the world rankings when they are updated next Monday, despite being absent from Indian Wells due to the United States' Covid-related entry rules requiring all foreign visitors to be vaccinated. The Serb is unvaccinated and is therefore missing the Masters tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.

Later on Monday, local hope Jenson Brooksby fought back from a set down to secure a shock win over world No 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Jenson Brooksby, right, delivered a shock victory over world No 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas. AFP

Tsitsipas got off to a flying start, breaking twice to claim the opening set, but Brooksby stormed back in the second set, winning the first three games to take a 3-0 lead, which he held onto to force a decider.

Brooksby carried his momentum into the final set, breaking twice in quick succession to go 4-0 up, before he served out to eliminate the 23-year-old Greek.

"I felt really good going into the match. I was hitting well, I thought I prepared well but yeah, I just got a little tight," 43rd-ranked Brooksby said. "I think I got a little bit in my own head [in the first set], but it's a whole match. I breathed a little bit, I calmed down and I got myself to turn things around."

Tsitsipas is the second top-10 player to have fallen at the hands of a young American in the tournament, with world No 3 Alexander Zverev crashing out after a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 loss to Tommy Paul on Sunday.

Spaniard Rafael Nadal sent Daniel Evans packing with a routine 7-5, 6-3 win to extend his unbeaten streak in 2022 to 17-0 after winning a men's record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal extended his perfect start to the season to 17 matches after a routine win over Dan Evans. EPA

Down an early break, Nadal levelled it in the eighth game and again broke Evans to close out the first set and seize the momentum.

He dropped just two first-serve points in the second set, breaking his opponent early and wrapping up his 400th Masters match win with a forehand winner before thrusting his hands in the air to cheers from the crowd.

He reaches the fourth round after staging a breathtaking, three-set comeback on Saturday against American Sebastian Korda and said after the match he was pleased to wrap up Monday's affair in a tidier fashion.

"Happy to be able to keep going in the tournament," said Nadal, will next face American Reilly Opelka, who beat 13th seed Denis Shapovalov 6-7, 6-4, 6-4. "I think after a few games I have been playing better and better."

Elsewhere on the men's side, Alcaraz beat fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2 6-0, while Australia's Nick Kyrgios maintained his fine form to defeat Norwegian eighth seed Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-4.

Updated: March 17, 2022, 6:00 AM