World No. 2 Novak Djokovic lost to Fernando Verdasco for the second time in two weeks on Friday when he lost an enthralling Rome Masters quarterfinal 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.
Djokovic was thrashed by in-form sixth seed Verdasco in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters in their last meeting and the match looked like it might follow a similar plot early on.
The Serb was under constant pressure, slamming his racquet down in frustration after being pushed around in a rally before caving in on serve in the seventh game.
Djokovic, the 2008 Rome champion, responded bravely though, breaking when Verdasco was serving for the set. The pair traded breaks again before the Spaniard took the set in the tiebreak.
Holder Rafael Nadal, seeking his fourth Rome title in five years faces Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in his last-eight match later on Friday.
World No. 1 Roger Federer, was knocked out of the doubles in the quarterfinals along with compatriot Yves Allegro by American pair John Isner and Sam Querrey, 6-4, 6-4.