No one wakes Tabilo from his sleep in Rome

He is the first Chilean in SF in this Masters 1000 in fifteen years (since González in 2009)

May 15, 2024

TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images

Alejandro Tabilo had never made it this far in an ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
By Staff

Nothing is the result of chance. Alejandro Tabilo is reaping the fruits of his work this week at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and, at the moment, no one can wake him up from his dream in Rome. And the Chilean appeared this Thursday in the semifinals of an ATP Masters 1000 for the first time in his career.

The No. 29 seed defeated Zhang Zhizhen, another player who, like him, was seeking his first presence among the four best in a tournament of this category. He did it with a resounding victory, 6-3, 6-4, in one hour and 26 minutes.

“It’s incredible, I can’t believe it,” he acknowledged in the interview at the foot of the track with a huge smile. “Definitely, these are two unforgettable weeks for me, and what could be better than being here with my team. “I am surrounded by great people and happy to be moving forward here.”

In this way, Tabilo became the third player from his country in the history of the tournament, capable of reaching the semifinals. Fernando González and Marcelo Ríos, the only Chilean to have conquered Rome, also did it before.

Chileans in the semi-finals of Rome
2024. Alejandro Tabilo*

2009. Fernando González

2007. Fernando González (Final)

1998. Marcelo Ríos (champion)

1997. Marcelo Ríos (Final)

* Nicolás Jarry could join, if he is able to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas this Thursday.

At 26 years old, he has found his peak of form to make his way into the elite of the ATP Tour. Although at the beginning of the course, in the first week of competition, he went from the previous one to winning his first title in Auckland (being the first Chilean to win a hard court title since González in 2007), in Rome he has been breaking down prestigious barriers .

After debuting with a victory in two sets against Yannik Hanfmann, in the third round he ruthlessly defeated world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-3 in just 67 minutes. And in the round of 16 she did not hesitate to get rid of the No. 16 seed Karen Khachanov in two tie-breaks.

His great performance on the Italian clay has helped him climb positions in the PIF Live ATP Rankings to No. 25, which will be at least the highest position so far in his career in the world rankings and will allow Chilean tennis to count with two representatives in the Top 25 (also Jarry).

Tabilo did not miss a clear field of seeds, avoiding favorites such as No. 5 Casper Ruud or No. 12 Ben Shelton who advanced through the same quarter as Zhang. And in the first duel at the ATP Tour level against the Chinese, he left the balance on his side.

The pressure couldn’t help him at the beginning. Although both players hardly risked in the opening four games, he raised the bar for the rest, more aggressive from the bottom, to sign his first break in the sixth game. It was the only one in the first set, because the Chilean was able to save the two that he conceded to his rival. And with 87% of points won with first serve he closed 6-3.

In the second set he once again showed nerves of steel. As soon as he started, he took the lead again on the scoreboard with his second break of the match (2-0) and when Zhang tried to react with 2-1, 0/30, he took the fourth game to keep the distance (3- 1).

The No. 56 in the PIF ATP Rankings did everything he could, but he couldn’t find any space in the racket that was waiting for him on the other side of the net. Every time he tried to create danger for the rest (also with 3-2, 15/30) he saw how the Chilean became stronger with his serve. And so he was able to certify one of the most important victories of his career.

ATP Tour Tabilo Semifinals

Year Tournament Category Result
2022 Córdoba ATP 250 p. with Ramos in the final
2022 Santiago ATP 250 p. with Martínez in SF
2024 Auckland ATP 250 v. to Daniel in the final
2024 Santiago ATP 250 p. with Báez in the final
2024 Bucharest ATP 250 p. with Fucsovics en SF
2024 Roma ATP Masters 1000 *SF Rated

In the semifinals, Tabilo will face the winner of the clash that measures in the last turn of the center court (not before 8.30 pm) the champion in 2017 Alexander Zverev with the No. 11 seed Taylor Fritz, who is already the only American capable to reach the quarterfinals in every ATP Masters 1000 on clay.

Did you know…?

Next Monday, May 20, Chilean tennis will once again have two representatives in the Top 30 of the PIF ATP Rankings, thanks to Alejandro Tabilo and Nicolás Jarry, for the first time since July 2005 (González and Nicolás Massú).


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