The Spaniard once ranked No. 7 in the world is now ranked No. 39 said: "Well, I think that the match kind of, like, went up-and-downs a little bit, at least the two first sets with a break that he made me at the beginning". "Just the feeling of getting back to the world No. 1 ranking is deeply gratifying".
After being handed a bye in the opening round as he is a seeded player, Federer booked his place in the last 32 after a straight sets win over Federico Delbonis in California last night.
The win sets up a third-round showdown with Spaniard David Ferrer, who defeated Tennys Sandgren of the United States 6-2, 7-6 (7-3). He knows that. We all know that.
Djokovic scrambled to win the second set on Sunday but the rust from the layoff was evident as he made 62 unforced errors compared to 29 for Daniel.
The Serb failed to serve out the first set, growing the internal seed of doubt and emboldening Daniel, who at last year's US Open took a set from eventual champion Rafael Daniel. Daniel went toe-to-toe with Djokovic as the match wore on, matching the Serbian's aggression. "Very weird. I mean, I just completely lost rhythm", Djokovic said after the Daniel upset.
"And even if I lost the second set, I still had faith I could pull something off in the third". "Just didn't feel good at all, nerves were there".
His third-round opponent is Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, who had been scheduled to play Kei Nishikori in the second round before the world No. 25 withdrew through illness. The Japanese overturned an 0-7 mark against Top 20 opposition, surging into the third round at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time.
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Federer hit five aces and won 74 per cent of his first serve points in the match which took a total of one hour and 41 minutes over the two days. Instead, it took 20 hours before a victor was decided.
Daniel had two break points to level it at 5-5 but, this time, Djokovic did come through - despite wasting his first set point with a horribly shanked drive volley.
Saturday marked the first time in more than a decade that matches at the tournament were postponed a day.
Rain - a rarity in the desert - delayed the start of the match, with Federer cautious but restless to get play underway in front of a capacity crowd.
Federer's match was not the only one postponed by a persistent rain Saturday evening.
The nightcap match on Stadium Court was also postponed for the night.
In some of the other matches of the day, second seed and Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic edged a tight first set and then raced through the second for a 7-5, 6-3 win over Marton Fucsovics. The two instead played Sunday afternoon and Stephens looked very sharp in dispatching Azarenka 6-1, 7-5.