Rome: Big-serving Czech Tomas Berdych caused the first major upset of the Rome Masters on Friday when he ousted world number one and top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
Berdych, who had beaten Djokovic only once in their last 14 meetings, prevailed 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 to book himself an unlikely place in the semi-finals and boost his chances ahead of the French Open.
Berdych's serve and his combinations of shots had Djokovic in trouble from the middle of the second set, when he launched his fightbck.
Althouh he paid tribute to his opponent, Djokovic said: "I lost this game by myself.
"I just lost a bit of concentration. I started playing more defensively.
"The match turned around, he gained confidence and I had a few unforced errors.
"At this level you have to take the opportunities when they come to you."
Berdych will now meet the winner of the quarter-final between David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal in Saturday's semi-finals.
Nadal is the defending Rome champion but has come into this year's tournament seeded only fifth having spent several months on the sidelines recovering from injury.
Earlier, French surprise package Benoit Paire continued his good run of form by qualifying for the final four with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Spaniard Marcel Granollers.
Number two seed Roger Federer will meet Poland's Jerzy Janowicz, seeded 24 in the ATP rankings, later Friday.