Roger Federer knocked out by Jérémy Chardy in windy Rome

Outsider beats Swiss 1-6 6-3 7-6 to reach third round of Rome Open

Roger Federer of Switzerland in action in his match against Jeremy Chardy of France in Rome, Italy. Photograph: Getty

Jeremy Chardy secured the win only he, his friends and French supporters wanted when he put Roger Federer out of the Rome Open.

Holding his nerve towards the end of a wind-racked match on Court Centrale – where Andy Murray had just won through to the third round by beating Marcel Granollers – Chardy took a little over two hours to win 1-6 6-3 7-6. He next plays Ivan Dodig, who made short work of Lukas Rosol, 6-1 6-2.

Federer was playing for the first time since his wife, Mirka, gave birth to twins, Leo and Lenny, and will now return to Switzerland considerably sooner than he had planned, before gathering his resources before the French Open, which starts on May 25th.

He was comfortably in control of the treacherous wind and his nervous opponent for the first half hour but was then drawn into several difficult exchanges in the second set. He fought back from 2-4 down in the third to force a tie-break and had match point.

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The match became seriously interesting in the sixth game of the deciding session as Federer began playing with the sort of urgency he reserves for a grand slam final.


Swirling breeze
All of a sudden the shots flowed again – but most of them found the inspired racket of the French man. Federer butchered a smash at 15-15, hitting straight to Chardy's waiting forehand, but he clawed back to deuce. Then he hit long in the swirling breeze and was staring at a 2-5 deficit.

Chardy, playing as well as when he took a set off Federer in Brisbane in January, had the benefit of the wind when a forehand dropped short, catching the Swiss at the back of the court and Federer had to save match point again. He did so with a sumptuous forehand, then sent down two powerful serves, wide and on the T, to hold for 3-4.

With the wind picking up, Chardy served his fourth double fault in the eighth game. Federer again pegged him back to deuce and sensed nerves across the net, and they gathered at just the wrong moment for the man from Pau, as he netted a forehand. Five minutes later he was serving to stay in the tournament at 4-5 and held to love.

Federer hit his seventh and eighth aces to stay ahead in the serving cycle, heaping all the pressure back on Chardy.

A Chardy double fault in the 11th game of the tie-break gave Federer match point on his own serve – and he was brilliantly passed at the net. A netted forehand from deep by Federer meant Chardy had his chance to win the match on his serve.

Federer hit long and the match was the French man’s, his greatest win and one of Federer’s most disappointing outcomes.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray tamed the wind and erased one dreadful memory when he beat Marcel Granollers 6-2 7-5 to reach the third round.

It was here a year ago against the Spaniard, almost to the day, that the Scot’s back finally gave up on him, forcing him to miss the French Open.

There were no Scottish tears yesterday. Murray was just about shot-perfect in awful conditions in the first set, grinding Granollers down with his patient, artful tennis, and will now take on Austria's Jürgen Melzer.
Guardian Service