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Djokovic suffers heaviest loss to lucky loser Sonego in Vienna

What a shock: Italy's Lorenzo Sonego returns the ball to Novak Djokovic
What a shock: Italy's Lorenzo Sonego returns the ball to Novak Djokovic APA/AFP
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Vienna (AFP)

Novak Djokovic suffered his heaviest defeat in a three-set match on Friday when he was knocked out of the Vienna ATP tournament by lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego, stalling his bid to wrap up the year-end world number one ranking for a sixth time.

Italian Sonego, ranked 42 and who had intially lost in qualifying last weekend, is the first lucky loser ever to beat Djokovic.

His 6-2, 6-1 quarter-final stunner was 33-year-old Djokovic's heaviest ever defeat.

The only other time he had won just three games 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 a little longer before he completes the formality of equalling Pete Sampras's all-time record of ending the season top of the rankings for a sixth time.

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

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

Sonego fired 26 winners past the Serb who lost for only the third time in 2020.

Djokovic, a 17-time major champion, managed just seven winners against 25 unforced errors.

Second seed and defending champion Dominic Thiem also lost Friday, going down 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 to Russian world number eight Andrey Rublev.

Rublev hit 30 winners past the US Open champion and goes on to face South Africa's Kevin Anderson for a place in the final.

"I came here with the mood that I have nothing to lose," said Rublev who is chasing a fifth title of the year.

"I had already a really great season. I came here with zero expectations, just wanting to do my best. To try to fight every match. At the end, I am here in the semi-finals."

Anderson made the semi-finals by accounting for Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).

It was Anderson's first top 10 win in two years.

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