World number two Carlos Alcaraz crashed out of the Paris Masters at the first hurdle.
The Spaniard had designs on ending his year on the regular tour with victory in the French capital but they were quickly extinguished by world number 45 Roman Safiullin.
The Russian, who came through qualifying, posted a career-best victory, winning 6-3 6-4 in under two hours.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) October 31, 2023
Footage of Alcaraz giving rival Novak Djokovic the run around in practice had gone viral in the last couple of days, but there will be no meeting between the two heavyweights on the main show court in the final Masters event of the season.
A routine night for Alcaraz looked on the cards when he broke Safiullin in just the third game of the night, but he was immediately broken back and the Russian then went on to take control, breaking again at 4-3 and then serving the first set out.
Alcaraz made another early move in the second set leading 3-1, but Safiullin again responded and won five of the next six games to cause a big shock by the Seine.
The biggest win of his career
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 31, 2023
He said on Amazon Prime Video: “It was tough, since qualies I was not playing at this level but against Carlos you have to lift up the level.
“Carlos’ was not the best performance but I’m still happy I could win because he is number two in the world, former world number one and has two grand slams, it is tough to beat him even if he is not in the best shape.
“Everything against these guys, tactical, physical, mental is very important, to set focused form the beginning.”