Rome Open: Djokovic’s conqueror beats another tough opponent, storms quarter-final

Alejandro Tabilo | General | ATP Tour | Tennis

Alejandro Tabilo followed up his shock elimination of Novak Djokovic at the Rome Open with a 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (12/10) win over Karen Khachanov on Tuesday to book a place in the quarter-final.

Chile’s Tabilo stunned 24-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic in straight sets on Sunday and made the Foro Italico last eight after a hugely entertaining battle with Khachanov.

Tabilo reached the quarterfinals of a Masters 1000 event for the first time and will next play either China’s Zhang Zhizhen or qualifier Thiago Monteiro.

“Just being in my first quarterfinal is an unreal feeling, just trying to soak it all in right now. It’s a crazy feeling,” said Tabilo.

The 26-year-old had a much harder time of it against 18th-ranked Khachanov, whose six tour titles have all come on hard courts, than against Djokovic.

Tabilo came through a thrilling second-set tie-break which featured 11 service breaks, two set points for Khachanov and five match points, exploding with joy after the winning volley.

“There was just so much nerves there, like feeling that arm really heavy and in the last few service points I was like ‘I just gotta risk it all’,” added Tabilo.

“With the win two days ago it’s been crazy. I just had to turn off the phone and just kind of be with the team, be with the people close to me and I’m just happy that I was able to refresh the mind.”

Tabilo will be followed on centre court first by women’s world No 1 Iga Swiatek and then Alexander Zverev who faces unseeded Nuno Borges in the men’s last 16 for a quarterfinal clash with Taylor Fritz.

American Fritz beat eighth seed Grigor Dimitrov after losing a 20-minute tie-break in the second set before eventually coming through 6-2, 6-7 (11/13), 6-1.

“It’s easy to go back and I guess dwell on that the whole third set but I did a really good job in just putting it behind me,” said Fritz.

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