Roger Federer hasn't lost in the opening round of a Masters 1000 tournament since the 2010 Italian Open. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)
ROME -- It's back to daddy duty for Roger Federer, who lost to No. 47 Jeremy Chardy 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) in the second round of the Italian Open on Wednesday. The match was the fourth-ranked Federer's first since the birth of his twin sons last week.
Both players struggled to control their shots in the swirling winds that whipped most of the top layer of clay off the court. After splitting the first two sets, Federer fought back from a break down at 2-4 in the third to force a decisive tiebreaker. Federer fell behind 2-4, but he rallied to earn a match point when Chardy double-faulted at 5-5.
Federer looked well in control of the match point, coming into the net on a well-placed forehand approach that looked like it might die before Chardy could track it down. But the Frenchman raced across and hit a forehand cross-court passing shot for a winner.
Watch Chardy's amazing shot below:
The Frenchman went on to win the next two points, thanks to forehand errors from Federer, to earn his first victory against a top-10 player this season. Chardy had pushed Federer to three sets in their only other meeting, at the Brisbane International in January.
This is the first time in four years that Federer lost in his opening round at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament. The thin margin between victory and defeat left him frustrated.
"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 take it."
A finalist in Rome last year, Federer was playing just his second tournament of the clay season after withdrawing from the Madrid Open last week. He had said his goal in Rome was to get back to the rhythm of being on tour, even if that meant losing early. With the French Open just 10 days away, Federer has played only six matches on clay. He plans to return home to be with his family and continue his preparations.
"Everything's under control," he said. "I still feel good. My body's good, my mind's good. It's just unfortunate for one passing shot today I don't get another opportunity to play this week."