Roger Federer slips and accepts Rome reality check

Roger Federer’s 2009 claycourt season ended in a blaze of glory, capturing an elusive French Open crown on an unforgettable Paris afternoon last June. His 2010 bow could hardly have been more dreary in comparison.

The world number one peppered Rome’s slick Foro Italico court with unforced errors before succumbing to 40th-ranked Ernests Gulbis 2-6 6-1 7-5 in the second round of the Rome Masters on Tuesday.

The Swiss maestro chalked up 38 unforced errors in the damp conditions before the nervy Latvian converted his seventh match point to set off minor alarm bells for Federer a month away from his Roland Garros defence.

Federer looked to be cruising when he took the first set with ease in drizzly conditions, with Gulbis dogged by erratic play.

But the Latvian cleaned up his act and took advantage of some uncharacteristically sloppy play from Federer to notch a run of five consecutive games and win the second.

Federer then saved two match points on his serve in the ninth game of the final set, having been broken in the fifth, before Gulbis wasted four more in the following game to let his opponent back in the contest.

But the Swiss dropped serve immediately and Gulbis held his to love to claim a memorable victory.

* Federer says Rome defeat will help him keep perspective

* World number one not worried about French Open defence

“My game wasn’t up to speed,” Federer told a news conference.

“My serve wasn’t working. I couldn’t get my first serve in. It was a frustrating end to the match. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

“You can’t go 100 percent winning throughout the season,” the Swiss told a news conference after his error-strewn 2-6 6-1 7-5 second round defeat."

“Sometimes when you are winning, it seems too easy. When you lose you realise how tough it is to dominate the tour. So I won’t get carried away with the defeat.”

The Swiss said his numerous past triumphs, including his 16th grand slam at the Australian Open in January, cushioned the disappointment.

“It’s easier to take because I’m used to so much winning,” said Federer, adding that he was not worried about his French Open title defence after making the worse possible start to his claycourt season. The French Open starts on May 23."

“I’m not worried. It’s always like that when you touch a new surface and lose. I think there could have been some good tennis at the back end of the tournament if I’d made it through.
“The French Open is at the back of my mind. Winning three, four, five matches in a row is on my mind and that’s why I’m happy to be playing in Estoril next week.”

Date: 27.04.2010, Source: Reuters


Post a Comment