Twelve wins in a row, with 24 sets won and just two lost, accumulated Carlos Alcaraz, who just treading on the brick dust of the Masters 1000 in Rome, days ago, had recovered the number one in the world. Up to this Monday he had played 21 matches on slow courts and had lost only one – the ATP 500 final in Rio against Briton Cameron Norrie-. He seemed to go relentlessly towards glory in a Roland Garros that could be orphaned by Rafael Nadal. He seemed. Now there are two defeats and four sets sold for the Murciano on his favorite surface. Streaks must be broken.
His executioner, beyond any calculation, was the Hungarian Fabiano Maroszan, 23 years old and 135th on the planet -he is the player with the worst ranking among the Foro Italico survivors-, who came from the ranking round. Up until arriving in the Italian capital, he hadn’t won any main-draw matches in the major tournaments on the circuit. Correction: I’ve never reached a main draw before. Also: I had never beaten a top 100. He has already slipped three victories. One, the last, to be cut and saved against an Alcaraz who seemed ready to take the world by storm with his vehement tennis typical of a 20-year-old prodigy. As mentioned, the stripes are to be broken. And if they break.
There were four frustrations that Marozsan has picked up in the previous rounds of ATP tournaments. He had four defeats and only one victory without being able to cross the damned quality barrier. He suffered it at the Australian Open, Marseille, Estoril and Banja Luka. But in this Masters 1000 in Rome, all the bad things that happened are over. He finally managed to reach a main draw and, to complete the feat, he made a combo and got his first victories at the ATP level. First, he removed the Frenchman from the race Corentin Moutet (67th) 6-0 6-7 (8) and 6-2 and subsequently eliminated the Czech Jiri Lehecka (39th) for 4-6 6-1 and 7-6 (4). With that, surely, he would have happily returned home to Budapest. But fate gave him a wink of those who never forget.
To beat Alcaraz, surprisingly, he only needed two sets. He was 6-3 and 7-6 (4) in just over an hour and forty minutes of action. It is true that Alcaraz was far from being its best version. That’s why he was immediately frustrated by a Marozsan in a state of grace, capable of dominating all areas of the game. To such an extent that he made 24 winning shots, twice as many as the Spaniard. And he fell in, nearly, half of the unforced errors (13 vs. 24). It bordered on perfection. That’s how you beat Juan Carlos Ferrero’s pupil.
From the start of the match, the Hungarian dictated the law. He managed a break to place the 3-1 with a blank service game for Alcaraz and he didn’t lose his lead again to get the first set back on track.
In the second he didn’t come down from the cloud and until he got another break for 4-3. Then he shook in front of an Alcaraz that was improving and threatening to take the story to the third chapter. Everything was decided in the tiebreak. The Spaniard, three years his junior, was claiming the carats of him to go up 4-1, but Marozsan went into devil mode and chained up six straight points to seal the best win of his humble career.
“I’m very happy, I never would have imagined it, I dreamed about it yesterday,” Marozsan said honestly as soon as the match was over. Of course, it was no less, not even he could understand what he had just achieved. “I just tried to do something special. To beat the number one, the best in the world right now, is incredible,” he said. But he also warned: “Trouble sleeping… I won’t have any”
And he continued: “In the tiebreak I won six points in a row, I think. It’s incredible, I don’t know what happened to me but I was just thinking about overcoming complicated situations. I don’t know what to say, it’s incredible. The atmosphere was spectacular and nothing, I’m very happy to have done my job”.
Who is Fabian Marozsan
Right-footed and with a two-handed backhand like most of his generation, Marozsan started playing tennis at the age of five. His father was his first teacher and who from a very young age taught him all the secrets of this sport. He considers himself a man of slow courts. Like Charly Alcaraz, his idol is Rafael Nadal and his favorite shot is the drop.
It was difficult for him to fit into the circuit. Between 2017 and 2021 he played as many Futures and ITF tournaments as he could. He was more positive than negative: his record was 101 wins and 63 losses with five titles. Only in 2022 did he enter the Challengers circuit, the gateway to the largest circus. He won his first tournament in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has now moved up a category, and was a finalist in Bratislava, where he lost to his country’s number one, Marton Fucsovics.
That path was enough for him to close the year on the 172nd step of the standings – he had started 359th – and to start flirting with the qualities of the biggest tournaments. He also got to play Davis Cup: he was in this year’s defeat against France.
During testing with no luck, he celebrated again in a Challenger. Just in Antalya, Turkey, he beat the Austrian Sebastian Ofner, the old gladiator of the circuit, in the final. It seemed that the smiles would never come. Until in Rome Fabi, as her friends call her, found the formula for happiness. That same happiness that basketball and cars bring him.
Want to know more about Maroszan? He describes himself as honest and loyal, but also a bit lazy to train in his personal biography on the ATP Tour website. He listens to pop and rap music and his favorite food, as a good Budapest man, is goulash. Attention, he also loves chocolate and soft drinks. His favorite actor is the tough guy Jason Statham and his favorite movie is the “Fast and Furious” saga. Thus, following the logic of his pochoclero tastes, he eliminated Alcaraz from the race.
“Everything was perfect: the fans, the weather, the field – said Marozsan, who will go more into the Roman brick dust. It has been 42 years since a Hungarian has not reached this far at the Foro Italico. The Croatian Borna Coric awaits him in the round of 16. But that, of course, will be another story.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.