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Djokovic To Face New American No. 1 Querrey

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Querrey© Getty ImagesSam Querrey will become the new American No. 1 after reaching the fourth round in Indian Wells.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic finished strongly to dismiss Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(4), 6-1 in the BNP Paribas Open third round on Tuesday. The Serb trailed 5-2 in the first set, but four double faults from Dimitrov in the ninth game helped him level at 5-5. He then closed out the opener in a tie-break and broke serve twice in a dominant second set display to clinch victory in 68 minutes.

"He started off well today, but then I think he gave me the break with four double faults," said Djokovic. "I haven't done much really in the match in the second set when I made two breaks. It was all of his unforced errors, so I just needed to hang in there and try to be patient.

"I just tried to stay positive and calm and hang in there and wait for the chances. So that's, I guess, the biggest positive I can take out of today's performance."

The 25-year-old Djokovic has an unbeaten 15-0 record in 2013 and is bidding to win his third title of the season after victory at the Australian Open (d. Murray) and Dubai (d. Berdych). The Belgrade native is attempting to win the Indian Wells title for the third time, following triumphs in 2008 (d. Fish) and 2011 (d. Nadal).

Djokovic goes on to face the last remaining American in contention, Sam Querrey, after the No. 23 seed edged Australian Marinko Matosevic 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 7-5 in the longest match of the tournament so far at two hours and 47 minutes. 

"It was tough. Last couple of weeks, those are the matches that I lost," said Querrey. "It feels great to get through it. I didn't feel I played unbelievable, but I just stuck around, stuck around, got a break at 5-5, and then closed it out with some good serves. So I was really happy, and I feel like I can only play better than that in my next round."

With the win, Querrey will become the new American No. 1. "It means a lot. It's a great feeling," said Querrey. "I feel like I have worked hard to earn it. Everyone seems like they've got their shot with Andy and Mardy and James and John, and so I feel like it's my turn now."

Querrey was, in fact, the last player to beat Djokovic, upsetting the Serb in the second round of the BNP Paribas Masters in November, having lost the first set 6-0. "I'm just going to hopefully play well, hopefully be aggressive, hopefully on those break points, deuce points, have some balls go my way," said the American. "I'm going to try and just enjoy it out there. I might have to go outside of my comfort zone a little bit and do things I don't like to do, and hopefully it will pay off for me."

Looking ahead to the Querrey clash, Djokovic said, "I won four, five times against him. Yes, he has won the last encounter indoors. Different circumstances and conditions. So we'll see. We'll play in front of his crowd and he has a big serve and big game and he can come up with the goods when needed. He loves to play also on a big stage."

Germany’s Tommy Haas saved match point to edge 11th-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7(2), 7-6(2) in two hours and 35 minutes. Almagro served for the match at 5-4, 40/30, but great reflexes from Haas on match point kept him alive, and he went on to break back and win the ensuing tie-break. The 34-year-old Haas is coming off a semifinal showing in Delray Beach (l. to Gulbis) and also finished runner-up to Milos Raonic in San Jose last month.

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