Djokovic Suffers Early Defeat, Nadal Withdraws from Italian Open

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal have both been eliminated from the Italian Open in Rome. Djokovic was upset in the third round by Alejandro Tabilo, while Nadal withdrew due to a hip injury.

Djokovic Suffers Early Defeat, Nadal Withdraws from Italian Open

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal have both been eliminated from the Italian Open in Rome, continuing the unpredictable nature of the clay-court season.

Djokovic, the top seed in Rome, was upset in the third round by 29th-seeded Alejandro Tabilo, a Chilean qualifier ranked 139th in the world. Tabilo defeated Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in a stunning upset.

Nadal, the defending champion in Rome, withdrew from the tournament due to a hip injury. The Spaniard has been struggling with the injury for several weeks and aggravated it during his second-round victory over John Isner.

Djokovic's loss is his earliest exit at the Italian Open since 2007, when he lost in the second round. The defeat also ends Djokovic's 17-match winning streak on clay and leaves him without a title on the surface this season.

Nadal's withdrawal is a further blow to his hopes of winning a record-extending 14th French Open title next month. The Spaniard has been struggling with injuries throughout the season and has only played four tournaments so far in 2022.

The early exits of Djokovic and Nadal have left the Italian Open wide open. Second-seeded Alexander Zverev is now the favorite to win the title, but he will face stiff competition from third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas and fourth-seeded Carlos Alcaraz.

Other contenders for the title include sixth-seeded Casper Ruud, seventh-seeded Andrey Rublev, and eighth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The Italian Open is one of the most prestigious clay-court tournaments in the world and serves as a key preparation event for the French Open. The tournament is being played this year from May 8-15.

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