Novak Djokovic beaten by Tomas Berdych at Italian Open

Novak Djokovic

World number one Novak Djokovic lost 2-6 7-5 6-4 to Czech Tomas Berdych in the Italian Open quarter-finals.

Serb Djokovic was attempting to win his third Rome title, but has recently been troubled by pain in his ankle.

"I played very well and was two points from winning. Then the entire match changed," the 25-year-old said.

Rafael Nadal stayed on target for his third straight title as he beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-4 4-6 6-2 while Frenchman Benoit Paire also advanced.

Paire, 24, reached the first Masters Series semi-final of his career with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Spaniard Marcel Granollers and now faces Roger Federer for a place in the Rome final.

Federer despatched Polish rising star Jerzy Janowicz 6-4 7-6 (7-2) but it was an intense encounter with a sizzling second set.

A determined Janowicz broke Federer to take an early 2-0 lead in the second but the Swiss world number three used his skills at the net to break back at 5-5.

The match was decided in a tie-break which Federer wrapped up with some immense forehands - although the shot of the breaker was Janowicz's slice volley.

Djokovic lost in the second round in Madrid last week and defeat to Berdych, 27, comes a week before the clay-court season reaches its climax at the French Open.

The Australian Open champion looked set for a routine victory when he took a 6-2 5-2 lead, but Berdych broke Djokovic as he served for the match at 5-3.

World number six Berdych had previously lost twice to Djokovic this year, his only previous victory against the Serb coming in the 2010 Wimbledon semi-finals.

"I know I can play well on clay and so I shouldn't allow myself to have these drops. Let's hope it won't happen for Roland Garros," Djokovic said of the French Open, the only major he has not won. "I'm fine. I just lost my rhythm."

"It's a very strange situation."

Nadal, 26, did not have all his own way either as he was taken the distance by 31-year-old Ferrer, who is trying to stay ahead of his countryman at number four in the world rankings.

But the seven-time champion won through in two hours 46 minutes.

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