The Chilean Alejandro Tabilo gave a major surprise this Sunday by eliminating the Serbian Novak Djokovic in the third round of the Rome Masters 1,000, after easily winning in 2 sets, 6-2 and 6-3, in just over 1 hour of game.

A double fault ended Nole’s run in Rome, where he won in 2022. A faithful reflection of what his game was, grey, blurred and imprecise. The one who was a favorite in Rome will have to wait to achieve the 1,000th victory on the professional circuit that he was pursuing in this Rome tournament.

It all came together for Djokovic, wearing a cap that covered the small wound caused by a canteen accidentally dropped from the stands last Friday. In 2024 he is not at the great level he usually is and Tabilo was sensational. It was the first time they met and the first set ended in half an hour. The Belgrade player did not have time to enter the game, who also blamed the lack of rhythm.

It was an overwhelming first round for the Chilean, brilliant, superior in all aspects to an overmatched Nole, at times unrecognizable, incapable of matching himself in any way against a shameless ‘Jano’, the nickname of the tennis player born in Toronto, Canada, on the 2nd. June 1997, almost 27 years ago, winner of a single ATP tournament, the 250th in Auckland, also on clay, his specialty, and with a best result in his career of a round of 16 at Masters 1,000, already tied after the feat in the Italian capital.

Up to 9 unforced errors were recorded by the Serbian in the first set, who also obtained a worse service percentage compared to Tabilo, eliminated in the first round of the Madrid tournament, in which he participated for the first time in his career.

Rome is his favorite city outside of Chile and, now, it will be even more so. Because he will never forget his feat, that of winning the tennis player with the most Grand Slam in history on the center court of Foro Italico in which Rafael Nadal, his idol, left-handed like him, won up to 10 titles.

With his 6 ATP Challenger titles, number 32 in the world, he can almost count this victory, the most important of his career without a doubt, as another title.

Because if anyone thought that what had happened in the first set was pure chance, a 6-1 with two breaks, in the second set the same tone and dynamics were maintained. Precise with his left foot from the serve, accurate from the back of the court against Nole’s attacks and daring to use his usual drop shots, a trademark resource of the house, to break again as soon as the second duel began.

The Chilean took shelter in his serve to complete the feat. He did not force the rest into the games, aware that he had it in his hand. He had not conceded a set in Rome and managed to maintain the statistic against the big favorite, whom he broke again to close a historic match.

In the round of 16 they will now face the Russian Karen Kachanov, world number 18, who beat the Argentine Francisco CerĂșndolo.