No. 1 Novak Djokovic ousted by Chile's Alejandro Tabilo in Rome

League: Tennis

Posted on: 13 May, 2024 at 12:03 AM

Credit: Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports

Alejandro Tabilo of Chile upset World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-3 to move to the fourth round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Sunday in Rome.

Djokovic, who has won six times in Rome, had just 14 winners against 12 unforced errors in the 68-minute match. Eight of those winners came on aces, and he also had five double faults and his serve broken four times.

It was the first time Tabilo, the 29th seed in Rome, had played the top-seeded Serbian. He didn't face a break point.

"It's incredible," the 26-year-old Tabilo said. "I came on court just looking around, just trying to soak it all in and trying to process everything. I'm just trying to wake up right now."

Tabilo became the first Chilean to defeat a World No. 1 since 2007 when Fernando Gonzalez beat Roger Federer at the 2007 Nitto ATP Finals round robin.

"I was just trying to keep my nerves in, trying to keep swinging," Tabilo said. "Obviously every time you feel like you are closer to the end, your arms start to get a little tighter and you start to swing shorter, so I was just trying to not think about it and take it point by point. It's crazy. I can't believe what just happened."

Tabilo took control of the match at the outset, breaking Djokovic twice to jump to a 4-0 lead. In the second set, Djokovic double faulted twice in the opening game to give Tabilo an early break point that he never relinquished.

Tabilo's fourth-round opponent will be Russia's Karen Khachanov, the 16th seed, who ousted 20th-seeded Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina 6-2, 6-4.

In another upset Sunday, China's Zhizhen Zhang took down No. 12 seed Ben Shelton 6-2, 6-4 in a mere 71 minutes. Shelton had 15 unforced errors to Zhang's four.

No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany had a better day than Djokovic and Shelton. Zverev smashed 12 aces and advanced past Italy's Luciano Darderi 7-6 (3), 6-2.

Also moving to the fourth round of the clay-court event was eighth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who defeated qualifier Terence Atmane of France 7-6 (3), 6-3 in one hour, 44 minutes. Dimitrov will be making his fourth appearance in the fourth round but first since 2020.

"It was a very difficult match. Probably one of the most difficult matches this year," Dimitrov said. "The conditions were so difficult. I rolled my ankle on one side, there was not much clay left."

He had 19 winners against 18 unforced errors.

"You have to adapt and today that is what I did. I played an OK game and that was enough but at the same time I am not happy with where my game is at. But I keep winning matches like this and that is what counts."

Next up for Dimitrov will be 11th-seeded Taylor Fritz, who knocked out 24th-seeded Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-4 in an All-American clash.

Other winners were Thiago Monteiro of Brazil, who beat Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in three sets. Nuno Borges of Portugal also posted a three-set win over Francesco Passaro of Italy.

--Field Level Media