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Djokovic loses cool again, breaks racquet on way to semifinals

Filed on September 19, 2020
The racquet of Novak Djokovic is pictured during his quarterfinal match against Germany's Dominik Koepfer. - Reuters

Aiming for his fifth title in Rome, Djokovic's semifinal opponent will be Casper Ruud.

Less than two weeks after getting defaulted from the US Open, Novak Djokovic lost his cool again midway through a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over German qualifier Dominik Koepfer in the Italian Open quarterfinals on Saturday.

When Djokovic was broken at love to even the second set at 3-3, he slammed his racquet to the red clay in anger. With the frame broken and the strings all mangled, Djokovic was forced to get a new racquet and received a warning from the chair umpire.

"It's not the first nor the last racquet that I'll break in my career," Djokovic said. "I've done it before and I'll probably do it again. I don't want to do it but when it comes, it happens. That's how, I guess, I release sometimes my anger and it's definitely not the best message out there, especially for the young tennis players looking at me, and I don't encourage that - definitely."

The top-ranked Djokovic was thrown out of the US Open for unintentionally hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball in a fit of anger.

"That's just me," Djokovic said. "Of course I'm not perfect and I'm doing my best."

The 97th-ranked Koepfer, who screamed at himself in frustration throughout the match, was also warned for misbehaviour early in the third set.

Aiming for his fifth title in Rome, Djokovic's semifinal opponent will be Casper Ruud, who eliminated local favorite Matteo Berrettini 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in a match that lasted 2 hours, 57 minutes.

While fans have not been admitted to the tournament yet - Italy's sports minister said Friday that 1,000 spectators will be allowed in for the semifinals and finals.

Nicola Pietrangeli, the 1957 and 1961 Rome champion and the man the stadium is named after - was also among those sitting on the white marble stands.

In the women's tournament, top-seeded Simona Halep reached the last four when Kazakh opponent Yulia Putintseva retired midway through their match due to a lower back injury.

Halep was ahead 6-2, 2-0 when Putintseva decided she was in too much pain to continue.

RESULTS

Women (quarterfinals): Simona Halep (ROM x1) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-2, 2-0 retired; Garbine Muguruza (ESP x9) bt Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

Men (quarterfinals): Casper Ruud (NOR) bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA x4) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5); Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

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