Briton Dan Evans continued his lackluster record at the Italian Open after a marathon three-set second-round loss to Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.
The British number two was beaten 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 6-4 in three hours and 48 minutes – the longest three-setter match of the season so far.
Evans, the 20th seed, had a first-round bye and has never won a main draw match in Rome.
He has yet to win a Masters Series match this year.
Evans had led 5-2 in the first set and served for it, but Carballes Baena, who won in three sets when they met in Marrakech last month, rallied to take a 6-5 lead before a interruption of rain.
On the restart, Evans managed to break his opponent and force a tie-break but the world number 51 always had that little extra with the constantly threatening rain.
The second set proved tight until World No. 51 Carballes Baena played a loose service game at 5-5, allowing Evans to break and then serve the set and level the game.
The deciding set was also tight but playing after three solid service games in a row, it was Evans whose nerve let go first and a few unforced errors and a double fault on match point gave his opponent victory.
Earlier, world number two Carlos Alcaraz got off to a slow start before beating unseeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4 6-1 on his Roma debut to ensure he takes over as number one. a world to Novak Djokovic on May 22.
Alcaraz, winner in Barcelona and Madrid, is aiming for his fifth title of 2023 and his fourth on clay before Roland-Garros.
The 20-year-old was broken early but leveled it at 2-2 before earning another Ramos-Vinolas break chance in an intense 10th game and took the lead in the match when his compatriot finally cracked under the pressure and sent a forehand. long.
“The first round of every tournament is really tough and, of course, Ramos-Vinolas is a clay-court specialist,” Alcaraz said. “I had to adapt my game quickly to be able to pass.
“The conditions weren’t easy, the rain and the wait all day to find out if I’m going to be able to play, but I’m really happy with my performance in the end.”