File image of Novak Djokovic©AFP
World number seven Holger Rune defeated a frustrated Novak Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 on Wednesday to spin the top seed in a dramatic rain-stopped quarterfinal at the Italian Open. Six-time champion Djokovic carried an unspecified injury into the match as he lost to the rising 20-year-old Dane for the second time. Rune defeated the Serbian to win the Masters 1000 in Paris Bercy last November. The final match between the pair was marred by rows with the chair umpire by both players – Djokovic with a time warning and Rune with a call in the second set.
Due to the rain, the game was stopped for just over an hour. Shortly after the game started, Djokovic requested extra towels to protect his lower back on the bench during most substitutions.
He also suffered a problem with his right elbow in recent weeks, which saw him miss the Madrid event and put his pre-Roland Garros preparation behind schedule.
He was treated by the coach and tournament doctor after the third game of the second set and given a painkiller before continuing to play. Djokovic played his 17th consecutive quarter-final in Rome, now 13-4. Tomas Berdych was the last payer to beat him in the last eight in Rome in 2013.
His record in Rome fell to 67–11 as his bid for a seventh title ended after two hours and 18 minutes with 35 unforced errors in only his fourth loss of the season. Rune will compete in the semifinals against the number four in the world Casper Ruud or the Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo.
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