Pale Novak Djokovic falls to Alejandro Tabilo in Rome

Novak Djokovic ended his Foro Italico campaign in the third round

by Jovica Ilic
Pale Novak Djokovic falls to Alejandro Tabilo in Rome
© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic suffered a heavy loss in the Rome Masters third round, falling to Alejandro Tabilo 6-2, 6-3 in 67 minutes. World no. 1 played miles below his best, struggling on serve and return and ending his campaign much earlier than expected.

Tabilo played a rock-solid match from start to finish, controlling the pace and celebrating his career-best victory. The Serb served at 52% and faced problems behind the second serve, playing against seven break points and losing serve four times.

The Chilean sailed through his service games, losing ten points and never facing a break point. Novak landed 15 winners and 22 unforced errors, firing 16 service winners but losing ground from the baseline.

Alejandro Tabilo, Rome Masters 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Alejandro stood on a 22-15 ratio and built a massive advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes after attacking first.

Novak served at 48% in the opener and struggled behind the initial shot. He got broken two times at the beginning of the duel, like against Corentin Moutet two days earlier. Also, world no. 1 could not find the range on the return after taking only four points, allowing his rival to control the pace with well-controlled strokes.

Things did not look for Djokovic right from the start, facing four break points in the opening game of the encounter and hitting a double fault on the last to fall behind. Tabilo cemented the advantage with a hold at 15 in game two before firing a forehand down the line winner in the next one for another break and a 3-0 advantage.

Novak Djokovic, Rome Masters 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Alejandro Tabilo defeated Novak Djokovic in 67 minutes at the Rome Masters.

A left-hander painted another forehand down the line winner, delivering another comfortable hold and moving 4-0 in front.

The Chilean closed the sixth game with a forehand winner, opening a 5-1 gap and forcing the Serb to serve to stay in the set. Novak closed the seventh game at love to prolong the battle before Alejandro repeated that at 5-2, placing a booming serve and wrapping up the opener after 31 minutes.

Tabilo kept everything under control in the second set, serving well and breaking Djokovic two times.

Alejandro Tabilo, Rome Masters 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

After a couple of fine holds in the closing stages of the first set, Novak faced issues at the beginning of the second.

The Serb hit a double fault in the first game, dropping four straight points and sending his rival in front. Alejandro cemented the lead with a forehand winner at the net in the second game and placed a service winner two games later for 3-1.

They served well in the upcoming games, with Tabilo moving 5-3 in front with another fine display in game eight. Novak sprayed a forehand error in game nine and offered Alejandro a match point. The Serb hit a double fault, ending a terrible match and propelling the Chilean over the top.

Novak Djokovic Alejandro Tabilo