But world number one Federer, who won his own contest with Federico Delbonis, had expected that Djokovic would find it tough getting back into the swing of things on the ATP Tour.
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".
Verdasco's first serve proved almost unplayable in the deciding set of the second round match as he improved his career head-to-head record against Dimitrov to 2-2.
For now, Del Potro - given his strong start to 2018 - would appear to be Roger Federer's major rival in Indian Wells.
The Swiss superstar is the defending champion at Indian Wells.
Delbonis, though, was not overawed, continuing to go toe-to-toe with Federer before the rain set in and fans ducked for shelter.
Bhambri will face either 18th seed Sam Querrey or Mischa Zverev next.
Djokovic rebounded to level the match, but the taxing second set left the No. 10 seed looking worse for wear.
"When Marta Kostyuk got to the third round, you say, "I can do that, too.' But it's also cool that I'm playing here in the same tournament as Venus and Serena". The two instead played Sunday afternoon and Stephens looked very sharp in dispatching Azarenka 6-1, 7-5.
"The night-time is much deader".
"I just completely lost rhythm, everything", said Djokovic. The surface doesn't react so much. "So talking about faster, I just think there is more bounce to it, especially if you play someone who has a lot of spin like he has and kicks the ball around a lot".
Federer and 10th seed Djokovic both came into the tournament seeking to become the first six-time victor of the event.
"But it's not easy to deal with this kind of frustrations after injuries or when you always be the favorite to win a tournament, you come here and you lose in first round". It is still early stages for Novak coming back and the first one after surgery. After a slow start to the season, the Serbian quickly got some good results reaching Dubai semifinals and now Indian Wells third round. Whereas, here now you play the same guy the next day, so you can really compare, you know, how different conditions are.
If anyone knows what it is like to deal with injuries, it's Juan Martin del Potro - the career of the 2009 US Open victor has been ravaged by wrist injuries. "It's maybe just unusual to hear that from such a champion, you know, that he also feels that way".