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Distracted Djokovic makes shock Miami exit

MIAMI • High-ranked Novak Djokovic admitted that his off-court commitments might have disrupted his play, following his 1-6, 7-5, 6-Three loss to Roberto Bautista Agut within the final 16 of the Miami Open on Tuesday.

Djokovic got here into the match with little momentum, having misplaced to Philipp Kohlschreiber within the third spherical at Indian Wells.

The stumbles have come unexpectedly for the 15-time Grand Slam winner, who had appeared untouchable as he gained his seventh Australian Open title in January.

Whereas Djokovic remains to be a transparent chief of the pack within the rankings, his management function off the courtroom as president of the ATP participant council has maybe hampered that standing.

He has spent these tournaments embroiled in a backroom imbroglio over the ATP board’s contentious choice to not renew the contract of chief govt Chris Kermode.

Although Djokovic initially refuted a suggestion that these issues had disrupted his play, he finally conceded that they performed an element.

“I just had way too many things off the court,” he stated. “I guess that affected me a little bit.”

Following his win, the Spaniard Agut acknowledged “the key of the match was at the beginning of the second set”.

He added: “If I wanted to win the match, I had to be very close at the score. Otherwise Novak, when he gets an advantage, he plays really aggressive.”

Certainly, Djokovic had by no means beforehand misplaced a match on the Miami Open after successful the primary set – a string of 41 matches.

His benefit appeared much more safe when he broke his opponent within the first recreation of the second set, solely to “lose the momentum”.

The Serb stated: “I lost the rhythm in the second set. I gave him a little room to step in, and he did. He made a great comeback.”

Within the girls’s draw, Petra Kvitova’s hopes of overtaking Naomi Osaka atop the rankings in Miami ended after a 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 6-2 last-eight loss to Ashleigh Barty.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NY TIMES

ATP MIAMI OPEN

Quarter-final 2 (9am) & 3 (tomorrow, 3am) – StarHub Ch201

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