Medvedev shock sees Djokovic return to number one spot
Daniil Medvedev will lose his position at the top of the ATP rankings after the Russian suffered a shock third-round defeat to Gael Monfils at the Indian Wells Masters.
Top seed Medvedev went down 6-4, 3-6, 1-6 in California on Monday, meaning Novak Djokovic will recapture the world number one spot when the ratings are updated at the start of next week.
The Serb returns to the top of the pile despite not appearing at the two Masters 1000 events in the US this month because of restrictions against players who are unvaccinated.
Medvedev, 26, had started smoothly enough against Monfils, picking up a break in the ninth game of the first set and looking relatively untroubled.
But the momentum shifted in the second set as the Russian was unable to convert a host of break point opportunities.
The pair exchanged breaks of serve before Monfils broke again in game eight, then clinching the set in a game which involved an audacious underarm serve.
The 35-year-old appeared weary but Medvedev wilted even more badly, obliterating his racket in frustration after being broken in the first game of the decisive set.
The Russian dropped games on his serve on two further occasions without orchestrating a single break point of his own.
Monfils, who now boasts a 2-1 record overall against Medvedev, marches on to meet Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz in the fourth round.
Medvedev’s lost rankings points means his three-week reign at the top of the ATP pile will come to an end on Monday.
The Russian had become the first man in 18 years outside of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray to reach the number one spot when he achieved the feat at the end of last month.
However, a run to the semifinals of the Miami Open next week – widely seen as more favorable conditions – would see Medvedev recapture top spot before the clay court season begins, where the big Russian is notoriously less sure-footed.
“Is it better to be No. 1 for, let’s say one week in your life, or never touch it?” Medvedev asked reporters after his defeat to Monfils.
“I think it’s still better to at least touch it...
“Now I know I’m going to lose it, so I have Miami to try to get it back. Usually feeling a little bit better in Miami in terms of tennis, so we’ll try to play good there.
“I thought it could give me more motivation, well, I had motivation. It’s just that, yeah, I didn’t find my best tennis.”
Monfils was buoyant as he set up a round of 16 clash with Alcaraz, who was impressive in defeating fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets on Monday.
“I played great tennis,” said the Frenchman, who claimed just a second ever career win against a player ranked world number one, adding to his victory against Nadal in Doha in 2009.
“I knew I was in great shape and tough to beat. It’s always special to beat a World No. 1.”