Incoming world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz was stunned by world No 135 Fabian Marozsan as he suffered a third-round exit at the Italian Open in Rome.
Alcaraz, who will overtake Novak Djokovic at the top of the world rankings next Monday, was beaten 6-3 7-6 (7-4) by the Hungarian qualifier for just his second defeat in 22 matches on clay in 2023.
Marozsan had never played in the main draw of an ATP event or beaten a top-100 player prior to arriving in the Italian capital but now finds himself in the last 16 after snapping Alcaraz’s 12-match winning streak.
Alcaraz, who had won back-to-back events in Barcelona and Madrid, said: “He surprised me a lot. His level was really, really high. I’m sure he’s going to break the top 100 very, very soon.”
“I didn’t play really, really well obviously. I couldn’t follow his level. He was at the same level the whole match. That is very, very difficult. He deserves the win. If he plays at that level, he’s going to surprise more than one (player).”
Marozsan, 23, shocked Alcaraz in the first set with the pace of his forehand, while he played the Spaniard at his own game with frequent drop shots.
Alcaraz saved a break point at 5-5 in the second set and led 4-1 in the tiebreak, only for Marozsan to reel off six points in a row for one of the biggest upsets of the season, with the qualifier to now play Croatia’s Borna Coric in round four.
Speaking on Amazon Prime Video, he said: “I’m very, very happy. I couldn’t imagine this. It was my dream last night. I just beat the world No 1, he’s the best in our sport. Everything was perfect.”