Carlos Alcaraz was the victim of a major upset at the Rome Masters as he crashed out 6-3 7-6(4) to Hungarian qualifier Fabian Marozsan. The world No 2 had not lost a match on the European clay all season – picking up titles in Barcelona and Madrid. It means that Novak Djokovic can no longer meet the second seed in Sunday’s final.
While Alcaraz was making his debut at the Rome Masters this fortnight, Marozsan was playing in the main draw of an ATP Tour-level event for the first time in his career. The world No 135 came through qualifying and then beat Corentin Moutet and Jiri Lehecka to set up a meeting with the second seed.
The 23-year-old saved a break point in the opening game before breaking Alcaraz himself for a 3-1 lead. He then dropped two more points for the rest of the set as he quickly took the opener 6-3. Marozsan kept threatening the serve of the 10-time title winner in the second set and finally broke at 4-3.
Alcaraz broke straight back and was able to take the second set into a tiebreak, where he led 4-1 after snatching an early mini-break lead. But the 20-year-old then dropped the next six points in a row as he suffered a huge upset at the hands of the Masters 1000 first-timer.
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The top seed went down a break early on but was able to retrieve it. And he complained that there was too much clay before the umpire ordered the court to be swept in the first set.
“It’s not easy to say something,” the world No 135 admitted after the match. “I’m very, very happy. I can’t imagine this one, it was my dream last night. So yeah, now it’s true. I’m very, very happy about this.”
Marozsan said he wanted to do something special against Alcaraz and did just that, giving the world No 2 his first defeat on European clay this year. He added: “Yesterday we spoke about this match, I said I will just try to do something special, win a few games or maybe a set or something like this.”
Referring to Alcaraz’s upcoming rankings – as the Spaniard is guaranteed to return to world No 1 when the standings update next Monday – the Hungarian continued: “But I just beat the world No 1, he’s the best in the sport so I’m really happy about this.”
Despite going into the biggest match of his career, the 23-year-old said he got a good night’s sleep and thought everything fell into place for him to upset the second seed. “I slept well, there was no problem with the sleep,” he smiled.
“Everything was perfect today I mean the crowd, the weather, the court so yeah I’m just very happy I’m doing my job.” Marozsan also reflected on the end of the match, which saw him storm back from 1-4 down in the tiebreak to clinch the win.
“I think in the tiebreak it was 1-4 then I won six points in a row so I’m very happy about this,” he said. “It’s amazing. I don’t know what happened during the points, I just tried to hit back every ball and tried to do my best, I tried to find something, ‘How can I win points against him in this tough situation?’ And it just happened so I don’t know what to say.”