Djokovic suffers joint-heaviest defeat

·2-min read

Novak Djokovic has suffered his heaviest defeat ever in a three-set ATP Tour match, losing 6-2 6-1 to 42nd-ranked lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego in a strangely lacklustre quarter-final performance at the Erste Bank Open.

It was only Djokovic's third loss of the year, after being disqualified for hitting a line judge with a ball at the U.S. Open and losing the French Open final to Rafael Nadal.

""I have done what I needed to do and why I came here. I am completely fine with today's result and looking forward to the next chapter," Djokovic said, brushing aside the loss.

"I am happy, I am pleased, I am healthy, and hopefully I can have a strong finish (at the ATP finals) in London."

Italian Sonego, who had initially lost in qualifying last weekend, is the first lucky loser ever to beat Djokovic and the magnitude of the win was almost unprecedented.

The only other time the 33-year-old Djokovic had won just three games in a match was at the 2005 Australian Open at the hands of Marat Safin in a best-of-five set encounter.

Friday's defeat means Djokovic will have to wait longer before he completes the formality of equalling Pete Sampras's all-time record of ending the season as world No.1 for a sixth time.

He will not defend his title at the Paris Masters next week and said he as looking forward to travelling home to Serbia.

"I would call it a blessing, being a father and being a husband, it's the best thing in the world. I am not far from home, so I look forward to that," he said..

Sonego sounded as if he could hardly believe what he had achieved.

"For sure, it's the best victory of my life. Novak is the best in the world. Today I played so, so good," he said.

"It's unbelievable. It's amazing. I played the best match in my life. I'm so happy for this."

The Italian fired 26 winners past the Serb, who himself produced 25 unforced errors.

Sonego had lost in the final qualifying round to Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, but was added to the main draw after several players pulled out with injuries.

He becomes the first lucky loser to beat the world No.1 since 2017 when Australian Jordan Thompson stunned Andy Murray at Queens.

Second seed and defending champion Dominic Thiem also lost in Friday's action, going down 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to Russian world No.8 Andrey Rublev.

Rublev set up a semi-final against 2018 champion Kevin Anderson, who defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-4 7-6 (7-5).