Historic triumph against number one: a brilliant Alejandro Tabilo overtakes Novak Djokovic and eliminates him from Rome

The left-hander beat the winner of 24 Grand Slam titles 6-2, 6-3 in a match that bordered on perfection. He is already among the top 16 of the last Masters 1000 on clay of the season.

Living history in Rome. Alejandro Tabilo (32nd ATP) beat Novak Djokovic (1st) 6-2, 6-3 in the third round of the Italian Masters 1000. A perfect day for the left-hander, who marks many milestones for Chilean tennis after eliminating the 24-time Grand Slam champion from the clay court tournament. The first victory of a national against a number one since 2007, his best victory of his career and, incidentally, the equalization of his best result in a tournament of this category, are some of the marks that occurred this Sunday at the Foro Italico .

This start was a dream, as he has probably imagined hundreds of times since he learned earlier this week that he could face the Serb in the third round of the tournament. He played loosely, without nerves, as if he was not the best in history. He missed the first break opportunity, but Novak offered him a helping hand and with a double fault he ended up giving up his serve. At 1-0, he took a step forward and not only held his serve smoothly, but also punished Djokovic again with the return.

The two consecutive breaks, and 4-0 on aggregate, it was a scenario that no one imagined on the center court of the Foro Italico . Not even the one from the Balkans, who attended without finding any explanation for the situation. But the truth is that despite the disbelief of the man who has won 24 Grand Slam titles, the answer to the reason for this result was clear. The national entered with rhythm, aggressive. Fast when it was necessary to move forward and intelligent when it was necessary to change the direction of the points. Nole, on the other hand, without spark, always seemed a slower change, only able to surprise with a weekly repeat point.

This accumulation of differences and the great advantage already obtained during the first games allowed For the second time in 16 years, a Chilean will snatch a set from the world number one . Last year, Jarry managed it against Alcaraz at Wimbledon and before that, we had to go back to Roland Garros 2008, when Fernando González lost in four sets against Roger Federer. Like Feña at Roland Garros, the first set was 6-2 for Tabilo.

And as if it was déjà vu, the second set started the same way as the first. The European did not recover from the blow and lost his serve again with a double fault. A blow that, although not fatal, made it clear that the Toronto native didn’t want to settle for one set, he wanted to be the first Chilean since 2007 to beat the best player in the ATP rankings . The last time? Also Fernando González, on that historic day in Shanghai, where he beat Roger Federer for the only time in his career.

And even if Djokovic fought, Tabilo’s explosiveness and personality did not restore logic. He held his own in moments of pressure and when he won 6-2, 6-3, he celebrated with emotion. He knows that he has made history and that his name will forever remain in the most important pages of Chilean tennis. Not only did he replicate what González achieved three times during the 2000s, but he even surpassed him, being the first national in the Open Era to defeat a number one without dropping any sets. Now on the horizon it appears Karen Khachanov, world number 18 and her rival in the round of 16.

On the other hand, Djokovic’s defeat is a new setback in what was a complicated season for him, to say the least. He started the year unable to defend his title at the Australian Open and later at Indian Wells he suffered a surprising fall to the world number 123 in the second round. If he regained sensations with the semi-finals reached in Monte-Carlo, he now leaves Rome with only one victory. Additionally, losing to Tabilo in just one hour and seven minutes remains the quickest defeat he has suffered on clay in his career.

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Source: Latercera

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