ROME (AP) — Roger Federer’s focus appeared to drift away from the Foro Italico.
And that was understandable.
After all, the 17-time Grand Slam winner was playing for the first time since the birth of his second set of twins last week.
Federer let a lead to slip away and was beaten 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) Wednesday in the second round of the Italian Open by 47th-ranked Jeremy Chardy of France.
When Federer’s boys, Leo and Lenny, were born, the fourth-ranked Swiss player withdrew from last week’s Madrid Open. He only decided to come to Rome a few days ago.
“This one is totally OK if it doesn’t hurt,” Federer said. “I tried everything. I can’t do more than that on the court.”
Federer had a match point in the tiebreaker but Chardy saved it with an improbable cross-court forehand on the run when it looked like Federer was about to close the match out.
“That passing shot is a tough one for me to take, because he’s not going to make that very often,” Federer said. “But it happens and credit to him to fight his way back into the match and get it.”
Later, top-ranked Rafael Nadal also faced stiff resistance from his French opponent before ultimately wearing down 30th-ranked Gilles Simon for a 7-6 (1), 6-7 (4), 6-2 win that lasted 3 hours, 18 minutes – opening his bid for an eighth Rome title.
Nadal hit 32 winners but just three with his backhand, which has become a point of concern recently.
Also, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray eliminated Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-2, 7-5.
Women’s title-holder Serena Williams showed no problems – and no taping – from a left thigh injury that forced her to withdraw from Madrid. The top-ranked American beat 28th-ranked Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-2.
“I’m not 100 percent but I’m getting there,” Williams said, adding that the conditions at the U.S. Open prepared her for the heavy wind gusts at the Foro Italico. “If I can play in New York, I can play anywhere.”
Maria Sharapova, the 2011 and 2012 Rome champion, had to rally in the second set to get by Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig 6-3, 7-5.
After cruising through the first set, Federer began to commit unforced errors at an alarming rate and Chardy quickly took advantage.
“I wasn’t able to stretch the lead when I had it,” Federer said.
Federer committed 43 unforced errors – 20 in the second set alone – to Chardy’s 28. Federer also struggled to dictate play with his first serve.
“But at the end, it was shot here or there that decided the match,” Federer said.
Chardy hadn’t beaten a top-10 player since defeating Juan Martin del Potro in the third round of last year’s Australian Open.
Federer and wife Mirka also have twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, who turn 5 in July. But even with all the family distractions, Federer didn’t appear worried about his preparations for the French Open, which starts in 11 days.
“Everything is under control,” Federer said, recalling that he reached the final of the Monte Carlos Masters last month. “I still feel good, my body is good, my mind is good and it’s just unfortunate for one passing shot today I don’t get another opportunity to play this week.”
Also advancing was 11th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who edged Kevin Anderson of South Africa 7-6 (14), 7-6 (5); and 12th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, who eliminated Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-6 (3), 6-4; and 15th-seeded Tommy Haas, who defeated Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands, 7-6 (6), 6-1.
In women’s play, third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska beat Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 6-3, 6-2 and will next face 2010 French Open winner Francesca Schiavone, who rallied past Garbine Muguruza 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5).
Fourth-seeded Simona Halep rallied past American opponent Madison Keys 5-7, 6-0, 6-1 then withdrew from the tournament due to abdominal muscle injury.
Tenth-seeded Sara Errani swept aside Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-3; and 13th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro beat 1999 champion Venus Williams 6-4, 6-2.
Suarez Navarro then advanced to the quarterfinals upon Halep’s withdrawal.
Also, Varvara Lepchenko upset 16th-seeded Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-2 in an all-American match; American qualifier Christina McHale rallied to beat Italian wild card Camila Giorgi 1-6, 6-3, 6-1; and Australian veteran Sam Stosur defeated Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-2, 6-3.
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