In the final tune-up before the 2013 French Open, the Rome Masters has brought with it a heap of surprises and twists as we head toward final-round action.
We've seen everything from world-class players going down to emerging stars putting more impressive wins on their resume, and it's far from over in this hotly-contested tournament.
Let's take a look at the biggest surprises that have come from the action at the 2013 Rome Masters thus far.
Djokovic Goes Down in Quarterfinals
The top-ranked tennis player in the world doesn't usually get bounced in the quarterfinal of any tournament, much less a three-set one like the Rome Masters.
And when they do, it hardly ever happens the way Novak Djokovic lost to Tomas Berdych.
Leading 6-2, 5-2 with one game left at one of his easiest victories yet, Djokovic completely lost focus and folded. Berdych stormed back to take the second set and finished out the third and conclusive set to knock the world No. 1 player out.
Things will likely go a little bit different in Paris next weekend as the five-set scenario often makes it more difficult for elite players to go down. But it can't be a good sign that Djokovic is heading toward the year's second Grand Slam tournament with a glaring loss.
Murray Withdraws, Status Doubtful for French Open
Say it ain't so! Andy Murray is missing a Grand Slam major?
Murray backed out of action at the Rome Masters before his opening match, admitting the disc pain in his back has gotten too bad to play through. His back troubles were well-documented last season as he's played through the injury for some 18 months.
According to the Guardian, Murray said he'd be "very surprised" to play at Paris this weekend to open the French Open.
Murray wouldn't have been the favorite over the likes of Rafael Nadal in Paris. But for one of the sport's toughest players, who has battled this injury for some time while winning the U.S. Open and Olympic gold, it's nothing less than surprising.
Roger Federer on Dominating Run to First Rome Masters Win
It's hard to believe any time you hear about Roger Federer trying to win a tournament for the first time. He's won seemingly every event you can win.
But he's never raised the trophy on Rome's clay courts, and this year would be a huge year to do so.
Federer is on a favorable side of the bracket heading into his quarterfinal match and has only lost six games through his past two matches. He's clearly on a hot streak and would likely play clay-court king Nadal in the final.
A win over Nadal to grab his first victory at the Rome Masters would be a huge stepping stone heading into the French Open, which is famously played on similar clay courts and which Nadal famously wins year in and year out.
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