World No.1 Carlo Alcaraz was knocked out of the Italian Open after suffering a shock third-round defeat at the hands of Hungarian qualifier Fabian Marozsan. Alcaraz was bidding to win the title in Rome, a third one on the trot as he came into the tournament after winning clay-court titles in Barcelona and Madrid.
Alcaraz recently returned to the no.1 ranking by winning the opening match of his Rome debut. But the Spaniard’s 12-match winning streak came to an unexpected end when he was outplayed in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) by Marozsan, who is ranked 135th in the world. The Hungarian will next play Borna Coric today (May 16) to seal a berth in the quarter-finals.
Alcaraz experienced his only second loss on clay this year. Earlier, he was defeated by Cameron Norrie in the Rio de Janeiro final in February. Marozsan won the final six points of the second-set tiebreaker and also handed the US Open champion a wake-up call with the French Open starting in less than two weeks. The 20-year-old Spaniard will be the top seed at Roland Garros, coming off a disheartened defeat.
Many tennis experts and fans were even more surprised because Marozsan was playing for the first time in the main draw of an ATP tournament. The 23-year-old Hungarian showed great intent right from the start and dictated with spectacular play all over the court, including a series of drop shots that Alcaraz had no answer for. Both players battled before a packed stadium on Campo Centrale, where Marozsan delighted everyone with his perfect groundstrokes and pure brilliance.
I just did not feel comfortable. He made me feel uncomfortable on the court, Alcaraz said after losing the match. He was aggressive all the time. He was playing inside the baseline all the time. It was tough for me to get into the match, and into the rally. I made a lot of mistakes that I usually do not make too much, the Spaniard confessed. He surprised me a lot. His level was really, really high. I am sure he is going to break the top 100 very, very soon, Alcaraz concluded.
It was my dream last night. And now it is true, Marozsan expressed after securing a remarkable win. I just try to do something special or win a few games or maybe a set or something like this, and I just beat the world No. 1, he is our best in the sport, Marozsan concluded.