Novak Djokovic suffered a shock defeat in the Monte Carlo Masters round-of-16 Thurday with the Serb falling to a 4-6 7-5 6-4 loss at the hands of Italian 21-year-old Lorenzo Musetti.
Djokovic, 35, looked out of sorts from the start of the rain-affected clay court tie and world No.21 Musetti went on to break his serve eight times during the two-hour and 54-minute match.
The Serb uncharacteristically allowed Musetti to trade breaks with him throughout the opening set, before eventually seizing control.
The 22-time Grand Slam winner then took a 4-2 lead in the second set, and it looked like the game was going the way many had expected with the No. 1 ranked player in charge.
However, Musetti had other ideas and battled his way back into the game to level the tie.
In the deciding set, the Italian broke his opponent’s serve before going on to convert his fourth match point to seal the upset.
Speaking on court after the game, Musetti tried to contain his emotions, saying: “I am struggling not to cry.”
The victor continued: “It is an emotional win because it was a really long match … I am really proud of myself. I am struggling not to cry because it is a dream for me.”
Djokovic told reporters he was “not really in the mood to speak” and felt “terrible” following his loss.
The shock defeat will be a cause for concern for two-time Monte Carlo Masters champion Djokovic as this is one of his key events in his preparation for the French Open.
Musetti will now play fellow Italian youngster Jannik Sinner in the next round.
Like Musetti, Sinner also had to win from behind to secure his place in the quarterfinal. The Italian beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1.
Sinner will go into the game against Musetti as favorite but after seeing his compatriot’s round-of-16 victory, the seventh seed will know he has to be at his best.