In another upset of the day, unseeded Polish player Hubert Hurkacz shocked the sixth seeded Kei Nishikori to enter the fourth round of the ATP Indian Wells Masters.
Nishikori led by a set and had a break in the second set but went down 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to become the third upset of the day after Filip Krajinovic had defeated Daniil Medvedev and Bianca Andreescu shocked Wang Qiang in the women’s draw.
The Polish world number 67 had met Nishikori as recently as in Dubai and won that match in three sets as well but the Japanese world number seven was expected to get the better of Hurkacz in this one. And it looked like things were moving to plan as well when Nishikori won the opening set before getting an early break in the second.
As it turned out, it would be the last time he would win a break of serve, with Hurkacz immediately breaking back and winning another break of serve to clinch the set. This was followed by an early break for the Pole, which he consolidated through the set to win it in three.
A look at the stats suggests there wasn’t much to choose between the two players, with Hurkacz slightly ahead on points won on the first serve, at 84% while Nishikori winning 61% on the second serve to his opponent’s mere 54%.
In an encounter of fine margins, Nishikori’s loss of focus in the game he lost his serve for the third time might have been the difference between the two players. It was Hurkacz second win over a top-10 player in his young career and for the second time, Nishikori was at the receiving end of that.
Hurkacz will now face either Marin Cilic or Denis Shapovalov in his fourth round encounter, reaching his first last-16 stage in just his second year at the top.