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Italian Open: Novak Djokovic loses to Alejandro Tabilo in third round

Novak Djokovic was knocked out of the Rome Open in the third round on Sunday by Alejandro Tabilo in a stunning 6-2, 6-3 defeat for the 24-time Grand Slam champion.

Djokovic’s bid for a record-extending 41st Masters 1000 title was ended in just over an hour by Chilean Tabilo, who is ranked 32nd in the world but was hugely impressive and claimed his first win over a top-10 opponent.

The 36-year-old was eliminated two days after being accidentally being struck on the head by a bottle following his straightforward second-round win over Corentin Moutet.

And his subdued performance on a court where he has won six titles suggested he may have still been suffering from that blow, even if he laughed it off by wearing a cycling crash helmet to practice on Saturday.

Djokovic’s early elimination is a blow for the last major tournament before Roland Garros later this month, which started without Italian world number two Jannik Sinner and third-ranked Carlos Alcaraz.

Home fans have also been deprived of cheering on former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini and Lorenzo Musetti, while Djokovic’s great clay-court rival Nadal, a big crowd favourite, was dumped out in the second round on Saturday by seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz.

But Tabilo was a worthy winner after tearing into his superstar opponent, racing into a 4-0 lead in the first set in less than 20 minutes, breaking Djokovic twice and surprising the Serb with a series of impressive winners.

The Chilean claimed the opening set in half an hour, leaving fans sat under the baking Rome sunshine stunned at the off-form Djokovic.

He immediately broke Djokovic for the third time in the opening game of the second set and went on to claim the biggest win of his career in remarkable style.

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