Novak and his partner Fabio Fognini missed on a great opportunity to beat doubles specialists Lukasz Kubot (POL) and Marcelo Melo (BRA) and reach finals at the BNP Paribas Open.
Kubot and Melo needed an hour and 40 minutes of action to clinch a 7-6 (5), 2-6, 10-6 win over the Serbian/Italian pair in a tight contest on Friday.
After losing the first set 6-7 (5) to no.6 seeds, Nole and Fabio fought back to win the second set 6-2, breaking their rivals in the first and fifth games.
However, they were second best in the match tie-break, going down 10-6.
Match statistics: aces (3-1), double faults (3-3), total points won (71-71).
Currently no.221, Novak will climb around 95 spots in the doubles ranking when the new list is released, coming close to his career high (#115 in 2009).