Tabilo topples Djoker in Rome romp

PRODUCING the biggest performance of his ATP Tour career, Chilean Alejandro Tabilo used all of his clay court abilities to storm into the fourth round with a dominant win over world number one, Novak Djokovic. The 29th seed won eight of the first 10 games to go a set and a break up, and was never headed in a 68-point domination at Rome.

Tabilo was red-hot from the first moment, racing out to a 5-1 lead in the first set, sealing it in the eighth game. Determined not to let the Serbian champ back into it, he broke in the opening game of the second set, and then for good measure in the last game of the match, to in 6-2 6-3 in a jaw-dropping display.

“It’s incredible,” said Tabilo post-match. “I came on court just looking around, just trying to soak it all in and trying to process everything. I’m just trying to wake up right now.”

It is just the second time Tabilo has won a third round Masters 1000 match, and he did so in style without facing a break point the entire match, and only dropped 10 points on serve with a ridiculous success rate of 76 per cent from his service points. Not only that, but the Chilean also won 42 per cent of points off his return games in a comprehensive performance.

Tabilo is in career best form, having broken through for his maiden ATP Tour title in Auckland earlier this year while reaching the Santiago final in his home country. He is also 17-9 for the season. The win overnight was easily a career highlight for the 26 year-old Canadian-born left-hander.

“I was just trying to keep my nerves in, trying to keep swinging,” he said. “Obviously every time you feel like you are closer to the end, your arms start to get a little tighter and you start to swing shorter, so I was just trying to not think about it and take it point by point. It’s crazy, I can’t believe what just happened.”

Even post-match Tabilo was struggling to comprehend what he had been able to achieve against an opponent who had just about accomplished everything there is to accomplish in tennis.

“I think everybody who has been involved in the process [of my career], and my family, can’t believe it right now,” Tabilo said. “They basically sent me in [to the match] with, ‘You’ve done a great job, it’s unbelievable that you’ve got this far’. So I don’t think anybody can believe it. I’m still trying to process everything, so it’s a crazy feeling.”

Tabilo will now take on 16th seeded Russian Karen Khachanov in the Round of 16, after Khachanov disposed of Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets, 6-2 6-4. In other results, Taylor Fritz won the all-American battle against Sebastian Korda, while clay court stars Nuno Borges and Thiago Monteiro both advanced in tight three setters.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments