(Updates to add comment Tipsarevic in third paragraph, Djokovic in eighth, semifinals scenario in fourth.)
Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Top-ranked Novak Djokovic was beaten by fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic at the year-end ATP World Tour Finals in London, his second straight loss in a group match this week.
Tipsarevic, who entered the event as a replacement for the injured Andy Murray, defeated his Davis Cup teammate, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at London’s O2 arena.
“I generally do not enjoy to play my fellow countryman because all of them are great friends off the court,” Tipsarevic said, after his first defeat of Djokovic in four meetings. Djokovic, who is now 1-2 in group matches, will advance to the semifinals if Spain’s David Ferrer beats Czech Tomas Berdych in the other group match today.
The ATP Finals feature a round-robin format, with the top eight players in the ATP rankings divided into two groups and the top two in each section moving into the knockout semifinals.
Ferrer, defending champion Roger Federer of Switzerland and France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have already qualified for the last four. Tipsarevic is already out of the event.
Djokovic has struggled in the past few months after a breakthrough season during which he won three Grand Slam titles and dethroned Rafael Nadal of Spain as the world’s best male tennis player. Since winning the U.S. Open, Djokovic has had to overcome injuries on his stomach, back, ribs and shoulders. He skipped two events in Asia in order to recover.
My “body says that it’s overloaded,” Djokovic told reporters. “It’s been too much this year. Obviously mentally I feel a little bit drained, as well.”
Ferrer had handed Djokovic his worst defeat of the season two days ago. Djokovic said his 6-3, 6-1 loss to Ferrer was “the worst match I’ve played this season so far definitely.”
Djokovic isn’t the only top player who is running out of steam in London this week. Nadal yesterday told reporters he’d lost some “passion” for the game following a “tough” year.
The 10-time major champion last night exited the tournament in the group stage after he was beaten by Tsonga, 7-6 (7-2), 4- 6, 6-3. It followed Nadal’s most lopsided career loss to longtime rival Federer earlier in the week during which he managed to win only three games. The Spaniard won his opening match against Mardy Fish of the U.S.
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