(Rome) Novak Djokovic struggled heavily at one of his favorite tournaments, Sunday in Rome, being surprised 6-2, 6-3 by Alejandro Tabilo, 29th seed, in the third round of the Italian Open.

It was Djokovic’s first match since an accident where he was hit in the head with what appeared to be a gourd or water bottle on Friday while signing autographs.

Djokovic started with a double fault and things didn’t really improve for the Serbian, a six-time champion in Rome.

“I still slept well despite the headaches,” Djokovic said. Saturday went well, so I thought I was OK. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not.

“I mean, today it’s like a whole different player put on my shoes. No rhythm, tempo or balance, on any strikes. This is a bit worrying. I will have to undergo some tests. »

ATP number 1, Djokovic lost his first two serving games.

He lost in just 68 minutes, conceding victory to the 26-year-old Chilean by committing a fifth double fault.

“I’m trying to absorb all this and wake up,” Tabilo said, after the most notable victory of his career. I just wanted to try to contain my nervousness and hit the ball well. »

The third-round loss marked Djokovic’s worst performance at the Italian Open.

He had only lost once to a non-top 10 opponent in Rome, where he had never lost before the quarterfinals.

On Saturday, Rafael Nadal, 10-time Foro Italico winner, was defeated 6-1, 6-3 by Hubert Hurkacz in the third round.

Djokovic said he was “okay” after the water bottle incident, but it was a bad outing on Sunday.

A winner of 24 Grand Slam tournaments, Djokovic wants to elevate his clay-court game as he approaches the French Open, where he is the defending champion.

The French Open will begin on May 26.

For his part, third seed Alexander Zverev won 7-6 (3), 6-2 against local favorite Luciano Darderi. The German hit 12 aces in the match, while Darderi hit four.

On the women’s side, world number two Aryna Sabalenka defeated Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 6-2.

Maria Sakkari won her duel against Anhelina Kalinina 7-6 (4), 6-0. After a first round of one hour and 17 minutes, Sakkari won the second, to win, in just 34 minutes.