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Novak Djokovic loses to fellow Serb for first time in 11 years

ATP 250 Srpska Open 2023

BANJA LUKA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - APRIL 21: Novak Djokovic of Serbia salutes to the fans after the match against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia at the ATP 250 Srpska Open 2023 Quarterfinal match at National Tennis Center on April 21, 2023 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

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BANJA LUKA, Bosnia and Herzegovina -- Novak Djokovic lost to a Serb countryman for the first time in 11 years in the quarterfinals of the Srpska Open.

Dusan Lajovic won 6-4, 7-6 (6) to down a world No. 1-ranked player for the first time.

“It is the biggest win of my career,” Lajovic said on court. “The emotions are very mixed because I’m playing here in front of the home town and I’m also playing against Nole, who is a good friend and he’s a hero of our country.

“Beating him, it’s something that I didn’t even think is going to be possible, but it happened.”

Djokovic converted only one of 16 break chances, and missed three set points in the tiebreaker.

His previous loss to a fellow Serb was in 2012 to Janko Tipsarevic in Madrid.

“Dusan is a fantastic person, great guy,” Djokovic said. “Someone I’ve known for a very long time, since he started playing professional tennis. So many times on the Davis Cup team together, trained together. I’m happy for him, to be honest. He deserved to win today.”

Following his third loss of the year, Djokovic moves on to the Madrid Open next week.