Chardy blows Federer off court

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Roger Federer of Switzerland serves in his match against Jeremy Chardy of France during day four of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2014 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Rome - Jeremy Chardy caught new father Roger Federer on the hop at a wind-blown ATP-WTA Rome Masters on Wednesday, winning their second round match 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).

The upset loss, in just over two hours, came barely a week after the 32-year-old Federer became father to his second set of twins, boys this time round as opposed to girls the first occasion.

“Unfortunately, when I had the lead I couldn't stretch it. That's how it happened today. We both struggled at time in the wind - at the end it was a shot here or there that decided the match,” said the Swiss.

The fourth-seed, who has never won the Rome title, decided to come and have a go on the clay of the Foro Italico after consulting with wife Mirka and his team. With him in Rome was part-time coaching consultant Stefan Edberg.

Conditions were brutal for a match played amid great bursts of red clay blowing regularly through the air.

“The conditions made it difficult to prepare a proper game plan or execute the way you wanted. You can't take as much risk, you just put the ball in play rather than going for it,” said Federer.

Federer swept the opening set but began to fade in the second as a charged-up Chardy made his move. Federer, whjo salvaged seven of eight break points in the final set, saved a first match point.

But he could not touch a freak Chardy crosscourt return which landed on his shoelaces.

“He's not going to make that one very often, But it happens and credit to him. He fought his way backinto the match and got it,” said Federer.

Seventh seed Andy Murray took revenge for a defeat a year ago as he beat Marcel Granollers to open with a 6-2, 7-5 victory into the third round.

The Spaniard had benefitted in 2013 when the Scot had to quit their second-round contest with the back pains which eventually forced him to undergo surgery last autumn.

The match was also played in the day's swirling dustbowl conditions.

“I did a very good job, it was hard conditions: it affects significantly the way you play and the way you would like to play,” said Murray. “I tried to serve high percentage.

“But when you throw the ball up from one hand it can blow behind or in front of you and, it depends on what side of the court you are on.

“But you have to play the wind, try to use it in your advantage if you can. I thought I did a good job of that.”

Murray will next face resurgent Austrian Jurgen Melzer, who beat Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 as a return from a shoulder injury starts to pay off positively.

Murray has never been beaten in five previous meetings with Melzer, with the pair last facing each other in the 2011 Australian Open.

Murray, playing in Rome for the ninth time, is trying to kick-start his delayed clay season which began only last week with a win and a loss in Madrid. His best showing in Rome was a 2011

semi-final.

In women's second-round play, Serena Williams showed no sign of the thigh injury which forced her withdrawal from a Madrid semi-final as the top seed beat Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-2.

However, her sister Venus bowed out beaten 6-4, 6-2 by 13th seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez.

Sapa-AFP


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