Hopefully Roger booked a short stay apartment in Rome this week as he made a premature exit at the hands of Jeremy Chardy who defeated the Swiss 1-6 6-3 7-6(6) to record only his eighth ever win against a top 10 player.
I was predicting 2 close sets for this one but in windy conditions Roger's game went missing after the first set and Chardy deservedly got the win. The Frenchman made hard work of it in the tie break and had to come up with a stunning get match point down but that's really not the takeaway for me as the match was entirely on his racquet from set 2 onwards.
Fed was never at the races in this one and even though he had match point he was lucky to come that close. I don't think he did enough to warrant the win here so he can't have many complaints. Had he won I'd of course be happy he ground out a win but if we're looking for the player who forced the issue for most of the match it has to be Chardy.
Quick Match Recap
First set and it was Fed who got used to the wind quickest as he broke early to lead 3-1. Chardy is a rhythm player especially off his forehand and the points were ending too quickly for him to find his feet. Things got worse for the Frenchman at 4-1 as he dropped serve again before Roger served it out to 30 to take it 6-1 in just 25 minutes. It all looked to be going well 🙂
8 winners to 9 errors in the first set was solid enough from Fed but the second set for some reason was a complete role reversal. There was no dramatic change in conditions but the Swiss went to sleep whilst Chardy started striking the ball much better as he broke to lead 3-1 and then held serve comfortably en route to leveling the match 6-3.
Like the Brisbane match this one resulted in a decider, would Fed come good again like he did Down Under? With Fed saving 3 break points in his opening game it looked like he might just pull off the escape but then at 2-2 Chardy got the breakthrough before holding for 4-2. The Frenchman then had 2 chances to put himself out of site but Fed dug deep to hold for 3-4 before somehow breaking back to level for 4 all.
That soon became 6 all and final set tie break time. At the time I wasn't too convinced Fed would be able to pull this one out the bag as from 4-5 Chardy reeled off 2 love holds, courtesy of some feeble returning, to force the breaker. He was under zero pressure on serve and that's not a good sign heading into a breaker.
Into the breaker and Chardy got the early mini break before Roger got back on level terms at 4 all. With Chardy serving at 5 all he threw down an absolute choke job of a double fault to give Roger a match point on his own serve. Crucially Roger missed his first serve and on the 2nd Chardy came up with an immense on the run passing shot off a shanked Federer forehand which had just crept over the net.
Roger then lost the next point on serve to give Chardy his own match point on serve and the Swiss fired a forehand return long to crash out in the 2nd round and no doubt hit the road back to Zurich.
|J. Chardy||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||57%||68%|
|1st Serve Points Won||42/52 (81%)||47/69 (68%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||18/40 (45%)||16/32 (50%)|
|Break Points Saved||4/7 (57%)||9/11 (82%)|
|Service Games Played||14||14|
|1st Return Points Won||22/69 (32%)||10/52 (19%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||16/32 (50%)||22/40 (55%)|
|Break Points Won||2/11 (18%)||3/7 (43%)|
|Return Games Played||14||14|
|Net Points Won||17/20 (85%)||17/24 (71%)|
|Total Service Points Won||60/92 (65%)||63/101 (62%)|
|Total Return Points Won||38/101 (38%)||32/92 (35%)|
|Total Points Won||98/193 (51%)||95/193 (49%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Hard to assess this one are there are too many question marks over the match. Was Fed preoccupied with the birth of Leo and Lenny? Was it just a bad day at the office? Did Chardy just play better? Were the conditions to blame? Does he need a new racquet?
The last one in that list wasn't genuine 😉 but there are no real ideas from me on the loss and most of them sound like excuses so I can't really pick one as a genuine reason. All I know is Chardy tidied up his game after a weak 1st set and looked the better player out there. Fed was far too unreliable off both wings, hit way too many errors and just never looked like the winner.
Strange how he faded so badly after a reasonable first set though, I can't remember a well constructed point from him from the first game of the second onwards and there was clearly a disconnect between brain and racquet. Even with Chardy doing his best to choke it away he still couldn't capitalise so obviously not the Federer that's won 78 career titles stepping on court today.
Crashing out first round looks now like it was a bad idea to play but I'm not too fussed about that as he can't really change it. Losing in the 2nd round is obviously bad for confidence and rankings but s**t happens so he will just have to head back home and prepare for the French Open with a lack of matches on clay. There's some talk about him playing Nice or Dusseldorf but I'm not sure they are likely with the newborns.
The good thing about Slams is it's best of 5 sets and the draw means you are bound to face some easy opponents in Rounds 1 and 2 to feel your way into the tournament. Losing early in Rome means Fed might lose his 4th seed before the French which would be a bit of a negative but he's done well to even get 4th spot from 8th at the start of the year so not a showstopper as far as I'm concerned.
What do you guys think? Bad loss or does Roger have mitigating circumstances?