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By Chris Oddo | Tuesday March 14, 2017

Novak Djokovic won his 19th consecutive match at the BNP Paribas Open and set a rematch with Nick Kyrgios at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday, defeating Juan Martin del Potro for the second time in three weeks, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

More: Federer Soars into Round of 16, Setting Rematch with Nadal

For the second consecutive time Del Potro and Djokovic engaged in a riveting battle that ebbed and flowed quite a bit until Djokovic wrestled control from Del Potro in the decider.

The victory improves Djokovic record to 13-4 against Del Potro and also marks the Serb’s 300th Masters 1000 victory—he joins Rafael Nadal (319) and Roger Federer (332) as one of only three players to have reached that mark. Djokovic also moved into tenth all-time on the ATP’s win list, tying Pete Sampras with his 762nd career win.

But more important than any number was the level of commitment and intensity that Djokovic showed throughout the two hour and 17-minute battle—as well as his high level of shotmaking.

Djokovic is showing more of the form that made him a 12-time Grand Slam champion last spring and less of the ennui that caused him to be a player in the midst of a personal crisis of confidence for much of last autumn and this winter.

He broke Del Potro five times on 13 opportunities and won 66 percent of points against the Argentine's second serve. Del Potro remains the last man to defeat Djokovic at Indian Wells, while his opponent on Wednesday is the last man to defeat him on tour. Nick Kyrgios stunned Djokovic at Acapulco a few weeks ago, defeating him 7-6(9), 7-5.


The Aussie has not been broken in 19 service games at Indian Wells, but will face more pressure from Djokovic, who appears to really be dialing in his world-class return. Kyrgios is bidding to reach his third ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinals, while Djokovic is a winner of 30 Masters titles.

Again, the numbers tell a different story than the reality. Kyrgios made a very strong statement against Acapulco but he’ll need to be extremely vigilant if he plan to create that magic against a five-time Indian Wells champion.

Kyrgios eased past fellow young gun Alexander Zverev in straight sets on Tuesday, while American Jack Sock saved four match point to stun Grigor Dimitrov in one of the wildest finishes of the day.

Sock will face Malek Jaziri, who defeated American Taylor Fritz. Earlier on Tuesday Kei Nishikori eased past Gilles Muller to set up a round of 16 battle with Donald Young. Young knocked off No.14-seeded Lucas Pouille in three sets.

 

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