Defending champion Novak Djokovic was upset by fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic in the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open on Friday.
World number eight, who previously lost to Novak four times in their five encounters, claimed his place in the last four with a 7-6(2), 6-3 win.
Novak suffered fourth loss of the season and second defeat on clay in 2012 when Tipsarevic sealed the match in 1 hour and 42 minutes.
The top-seeded Serbian failed to convert any of his four break point opportunities in the opening set. Janko dominated in the tie-breaker and won it 7-2.
Tipsarevic made a break in the sixth game of the second set and consolidated it with a hold to love for 5-2 lead. Nole saved three break/match points in the eighth game and had three break point chances in the ninth to come back into the set, but Janko held to reach his second career Masters semi-final.
“I want to congratulate Janko for playing a great match today,” Novak said at the press conference. “I think he’s actually playing one of the best tournaments of his career. I think he can go all the way, he has the game, he has the confidence on the court, he has been hitting a lot of aces, winners for the first shots. “
Novak and Rafa have complained about the slippery nature of the showcourt surface.
“It took me almost a week to try to get used to this surface. And somehow I found my way to win matches and play a decent level of tennis. It’s very simple: no blue clay for me. You can’t predict the ball bounce and you can’t predict the movement. I won’t be here next year if this clay stays. I want to forget this week as soon as possible and move on to the real clay courts,” Nole said.
The five-time Grand Slam champion is heading to Rome, where he will defend his title at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.
Djokovic beat Spaniard Rafael Nadal in last year’s final 6-4, 6-4 to lift his second Rome Masters trophy.
Internazionali BNL d’Italia will take place at Foro Italico from May 13 to May 20.