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Qualifier Marozsan Sweeps Alcaraz in Rome Shocker

ROME, ITALY – MAY 15: Carlos Alcaraz of Spain (R) shakes hands with opponent Fabian Marozsan of Hungary (L) after his Rome third round loss during day eight of the Internazionali BNL D’Italia 2023 at Foro Italico on May 15, 2023 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

​Speeding toward net, a lunging Carlos Alcaraz waved his racquet in vain at the fluttering yellow ball that died in the dirt.

Hungarian qualifier Fabian Marozsan displaced the Spaniard with deep drives and dispensed doses of Alcaraz’s drop-shot medicine against him crafting the most shocking upset of this Rome fortnight.

A calm and clever Marozsan streaked through six straight points stunning Alcaraz 6-3, 7-6(4) to snap the Spaniard’s 12-match winning streak.

Alcaraz will regain world No. 1 next Monday, but today he came up second best to a magical Marozsan.

Marozsan took the court with a modest goal: win a few games. Showing sharp all-court skills, Marozsan beat Alcaraz at his own game delivering the most profound performance of his career.

“It’s not easy to say something,” Marozsan said. “I’m very, very happy. I can’t imagine this one. It was my dream last night. Now it’s true.

“I’m very, very happy about this. I just tried to do something special: winning a few games or maybe a set or something like this.

“I just beat the world No. 1. He’s our best in the sport, so I’m really happy about this.”

The 20-year-old Alcaraz learned an age-old tennis adage: What you don’t know can hurt you. Alcaraz struggled to read the Hungarian’s serve and was victimized by several drop shots as he fell to 30-3 on the season, including a 20-2 mark on red clay.

The world No. 135 joins Cameron Norrie (Rio) and Jannik Sinner (Miami) as just the third man to defeat Alcaraz this season. Alcaraz had reached semifinals or better in all six prior tournament he’s played this season, but that run ended in Rome.

“I didn’t watch too much about him before the match,” Alcaraz told the media in Rome. “I just follow a lot of results about him in the challengers and stuff. He did well. He was doing well before here.

“Of course, he surprise me a lot. I mean, his level was really, really high. Yeah, I’m sure he’s going to break the top 100 very, very soon. It was surprising for me.”

In a dazzling ATP main-draw debut, Marozsan more than doubled the US Open champion’s winner output—31 to 15—and faced just two break points in a masterful one hour, 40-minute conquest.

When Alcaraz’s final shot sailed, Marozsan did not engage in any elaborate celebration. Instead, he paused and pointed at his support box with the calmness of a man realizing a dream.

Residing in the red clay zone, Marozsan didn’t wait for Alcaraz to slip up in the end, he stepped up and took the match.

“Everything was perfect today, the crowd, the weather, the court, so I ‘m just so happy I’m doing my job,” Marozsan said. “I think in the tiebreak it was 1-4 then I won six points in a row.

“It’s amazing. I don’t know what happened during the points. I just tried to hit back every ball and I just 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.”

This brilliant breakthrough ride continues. Marozsan will face another reigning Masters 1000 champion in 15th-seeded Croatian Borna Coric with a quarterfinal spot at stake.