Novak Djokovic lost his temper during a three-set victory over German qualifier Dominik Koepfer in the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome on Saturday, less than two weeks after the implosion that got him booted from the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, 33, won 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, but with the score tied at 3-3 in the second set after his serve was broken, he slammed his racket to the clay. Djokovic was forced to replace the mangled racket and received a warning from the chair umpire.
The Serbian star reportedly glared at the umpire a short time earlier after having shots overruled and one point ordered to be replayed.
Earlier this week, Djokovic said he'd learned from the U.S. Open incident, in which an errant ball he hit in frustration struck a line judge in the throat.
"When you hit the ball like that, as I hit it, you have a chance to hit somebody that is on the court, and the rules are clear when it comes to that," Djokovic said on Monday. "I accepted it, and I had to move on. That's what I did."
"I'm working mentally and emotionally as hard as I am working physically," Djokovic said. "I'm trying to be the best version of myself on the court and off the court and I understand that I have outbursts and this is kind of the personality and the player that I have always been."
Djokovic, a four-time champion in Rome, was playing in the quarterfinals there for the 14th consecutive year.
By the third set, he regained his composure, twice broke Koepfer's serve and cruised to the win.
Part of Djokovic's frustration undoubtedly was caused by his failure to convert his break point chances while Koepfer capitalized on all four of the opportunities he had. Djokovic had 21 break points -- 15 of which Koepfer fought off.
Next up for the top-seeded Djokovic is a semifinals meeting against Casper Ruud of Norway, who defeated Italian Matteo Berrettini 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in a three-hour match.
Ruud got the win despite Berrettini bettering him in many statistical categories on the day. Berrettini led in aces (12-4), had fewer double faults and had a greater percentage of points won on his first serve (77 percent to 75 percent).
--Field Level Media