Carlos Alcaraz, the 20-year-old Spaniard, lost unexpectedly to Hungarian qualifier Fabian Marozsan 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the third round of the Italian Open, putting an end to his winning streak of 12 consecutive matches.
Alcaraz had recently won consecutive clay-court titles in Barcelona and Madrid and had secured a comeback to the No. 1 ranking by winning the opening match of his Rome debut. However, Marozsan’s spectacular play, including a series of drop shots that Alcaraz had no answer for, surprised the Spaniard.
“It was my dream last night. And now it’s true,” Marozsan said. “I just try to do something special or winning a few games or maybe a set or something like this, and I just beat the world No. 1 — he’s our best in the sport.”
The loss means Alcaraz will head to the French Open as the top seed with a dispiriting defeat. This year, Alcaraz had only lost once on clay previously, in the Rio de Janeiro final in February, making the loss even more surprising.
This was the first time Marozsan played in the main draw of an ATP tournament, and the victory took place before a packed stadium on Campo Centrale.
Marozan will encounter Borna Coric in the following round, who reached the semi-finals at the Madrid Open last week before losing to Alcaraz.
In women’s action, Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine rallied past 2016 runner-up Madison Keys 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.
Later, two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek was facing Donna Vekic.