World No 1 Novak Djokovic was dumped out by Daniil Medvedev at the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday.
Djokovic, twice a champion in the principality, lost serve five times in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 defeat by Russia’s 10th seed Medvedev.
The defeat marked another premature exit for the top seed after he crashed out in the early rounds at Indian Wells and Miami last month.
The Serb, who has won the last three Grand Slam events and could conclude a personal sweep with another title at Roland Garros in June, feels that all he needs is more court time and some extra polish.
“The French Open is the ultimate goal on clay. It’s expected in a way for me to peak right at that tournament, because that’s what I’m aiming for,” Djokovic said.
“This is only the first tournament on clay, and it’s a long season. Let’s see how it goes.”
Djokovic was broken three times in the final set, clawing one back but exiting when Medvedev drove a backhand into the far corner on match point.
Rafael Nadal, an 11-time winner of the event, rallied from 4-1 down in the opening set before finally overhauling Argentina’s Guido Pella 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.
The Spaniard will face off in Saturday’s semifinals against Italian Fabio Fognini, who came back to beat Croatia’s ninth seed Borna Coric 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Nadal stands 11-3 in the series, having won their last six matches.