Roger Federer lost to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the second round of the Rome Masters on Wednesday. - AFP
ROME (AFP): Jeremy Chardy caught new father Roger Federer on the hop at a wind-blown ATP-WTA Rome Masters on Wednesday, winning their second round tie 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.
The fourth-seeded Swiss, who has never won the Rome title, decided to come and have a go on the clay of the Foro Italico anyway 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.
Federer swept the opening set but began to fade in the second as a charged-up Chardy made his move.
In other play, Andy Murray took revenge for a loss a year ago as he defeated 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 drove him to surgery last autumn.
The match was also played in swirling dustbowl conditions which bothered both players throughout.
"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."
The seventh-seeded Murray will next face resurgent Austrian Jurgen Melzer, who beat Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 as a return from injury starts to pay off with results.
Murray spent just under 90 minutes in holding off Granollers, whom he also defeated on hardcourts last August in Canada.
The Scot advanced on a second match point when his opponent put a forehand long.
Murray holds a solid 5-0 lead over Melzer, with the pair last meeting in the 2011 Australian Open.
Murray, playing 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, Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Argentine Paola Ormaechea 6-3, 6-2 while former Roland Garros finalist Samantha Stosur defeated Russian Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-3.