Qatar Open: Novak Djokovic beaten in semi-finals by Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut despite winning first set

Agence France-Presse
Novak Djokovic says it will be odd to face practice partner Lucas Pouille in the last-four of the Australian Open on Friday, as the world number one continues his quest for a record seventh title.

Doha: Novak Djokovic lost surprisingly in Doha on Friday, beaten in the Qatar Open semi-final by world number 24, Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-3, 6-7 (8/6), 6-4.

The Serb fell to his first defeat of the season in a high-quality contest lasting more than two-and-a-half hours, which saw the Spaniard lose his first set of the week but come back to beat the World No. 1.

"What happened? I lost the match. That's it," a clearly frustrated Djokovic said in his post-match press conference.

Agut took Djokovic's serve in the second game of the final set for the decisive break and secured victory on his first match point.

"I will remember this match for [the rest] of my life. I can't be more happy than I am now," said the 30-year-old Spaniard, who will play either Tomas Berdych or Marco Cecchinato in Saturday's final.

It is the second time he has beaten Djokovic in his career and both victories occurred in a semi-final. The first came in October 2016 in Shanghai. Djokovic was also world number one at that stage.

A fired-up Djokovic smashed his racquet after dropping his serve in the eighth game of the second set.

"I thought I was pretty much in control of the match, set and a break, serving 4-3," Djokovic said.

"He played a good game. I missed some easy balls and that's what you get as a result of losing the focus in the most important moments and it happens, it happens," added the World No. 1.

Questions may be asked about how tired the Serb was, as he played two matches each day for three days in singles and doubles, prior to Friday's defeat.

Including the meeting with Bautista Agut, Djokovic spent almost 10 hours on court in three days and played 11 sets in singles' matches.

Asked if he had done too much through the week, he replied: "I wasn't the freshest, you know. This is what I was looking forward to, to get from this tournament, as many matches as possible, to get ready for the Australian Open, so I'm very pleased. Obviously, I'm not pleased that I lost the match today, but I lost to a better player in the end."

Also See: Qatar Open: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic pulls off hardfought comeback win against Nikoloz Basilashvili

World No 1 Novak Djokovic says success at tennis not a priority for him anymore, feels sport a platform for other things now

Qatar Open: Novak Djokovic cruises past Damir Dzumhur in opening round; Dominic Thiem suffers shock defeat

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