Carlos Alcaraz, the former teenage sensation who had won titles in Barcelona and Madrid, suffered a 6-3, 7-6(4) defeat by Hungarian qualifier Fabian Marozsan in the third round of the Italian Open on Monday.
The defeat for the 20-year-old Alcaraz comes as a surprise as he had been in top form heading into this tournament and will replace Novak Djokovic as the world number one for top billing at next week’s French Open
However, the Spaniard struggled to find his rhythm and failed to get going in his second match in Rome, conceding a crucial break of serve early in the opening set as the 23-year-old Marozsan, ranked 135 in the world, dominated the exchanges with ease.
Despite making a solid start in the second set, Alcaraz continued to falter under continuous pressure from Marozsan, allowing his opponent to break his serve and take a 4-3 lead. Although Alcaraz managed to save three breakpoints , Marozsan forced a tense tiebreak.
Alcaraz took a 4-1 lead, but Marozsan showed great resilience and went on to win six straight points, handing the world number two only his second loss on clay this year in 22 matches.
“It’s not easy to say something,” Marozsan said immediately after the match. “I’m very happy, I could have never imagined this. It was my dream last night.
“I said I’d try to do something special by winning a few games and maybe a set, and I just beat the (soon to be) world number one, the best player in our sport now.
“Everything was perfect today.”
For Alcaraz, this was his first defeat to a player ranked outside the world’s top 100 since the 2021 Paris Masters, where he lost to Hugo Gaston.
In other matches, third-ranked Daniil Medvedev earned a hard-fought win over Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles to reach the last 16 in Rome for the first time while sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev defeated Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
In the women’s draw, Elena Rybakina advanced to the quarter-finals by outplaying Marketa Vondrousova, while China’s Zheng Qinwen and Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina also progressed to the next round with victories over Wang Xiyu and Madison Keys, respectively.
Stefanos Tsitsipas’s match against Lorenzo Sonego, as well as Alexander Zverev’s clash with J.J. Wolf were suspended due to rain and will resume on Tuesday.
Tsitsipas had taken the first set 6-3 against Sonego, whereas Zverev was leading 6-4, 3-3 against Wolf.