Atp Acapulco: Taro Daniel Scores First Top-10 Win Despite Beating Novak Djokovic

Taro Daniel scores his first top 10 win despite beating Novak Djokovic

Taro Daniel, 30, earned his first top-10 victory at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco. The Japanese survived two match points on serve at 5-6 in the decider before ousting Casper Ruud 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 in two hours and 57 minutes!

Interestingly, Daniel’s first notable win came at Indian Wells 2018 after beating five-time champion Novak Djokovic. However, Novak was not in the top 10 at the time after missing the second part of 2017 due to an elbow injury.


Daniel qualified for the main draw and entered his second Masters 1000 event as world no. 109. Taro made it through the first round and faced Novak in the second. The Japanese scored a 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 triumph in two hours and 30 minutes for the best victory of his career.

Daniel admitted that Djokovic was not at his best, but he still appreciated the win significantly. It was Novak’s first meeting since the Australian Open and he looked tired as the match wore on.

Taro Daniel defeated Novak Djokovic when the Serb was outside the top 10.

He failed to impose his shots and made more than 60 unforced errors, especially backhands.

Djokovic led 5-2 in the first match but was unable to score. Daniel rallied and claimed it on the tiebreaker for a big drive. Novak made a fresh start in the second set and held it back at 6-2 to force a decider. Djokovic lost ground again and broke in games four and six to hit the starting gate and push the opponent into the next round.

Five years later, Taro celebrated a «proper» top-10 victory in Mexico, enduring every effort against the struggling Norwegian to enter the quarterfinals. It was Daniel’s ninth match against top 10 opponents and his first win, surviving the decider and sealing the deal on the tiebreaker.

Both earned 98 points and had their chances to win. Casper led 3-0 in the opener and had a chance to build another lead in game eight. Taro saved two break points to stay in touch and broke a higher ranked opponent in game 11.

The Japanese held the tie at 6-5 to seal the first set at 64 minutes. Ruud took charge of set number two and dominated the serve and return. Casper broke Taro twice in a row to clinch the set 6-2 and become the favorite going into the decider.

Both players served well in the final set until it was 6-5 for the Norwegian. The Japanese saved two match points on serve in game 12 and denied them to introduce a tiebreaker. They were level at 5-5 when Ruud missed a routine forehand and offered his opponent a match point.

A two-time Major finalist netted a forehand at 5-6 to give Daniel the win, his first against top 10 opponents.

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