Federer slips in Rome for early Masters exit

Federer had a hard time keeping his eye on the ball in Rome Reuters

Roger Federer’s 2010 clay-court debut has ended early after the Swiss tennis great succumbed to 40th-ranked Ernests Gulbis 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 in the Rome Masters.

This content was published on April 28, 2010 - 08:37

The world’s number one player peppered the slick Foro Italico court with numerous unforced errors against his Latvian challenger in the second round of competition on Tuesday. Federer had enjoyed a first-round bye.

“My game was definitely not up to speed,” Federer said. “My serve was not working at all. I hope I can come back from this. That’s usually what I do.”

Federer had been planning to use this tournament, with €2.75 million (SFr3.95 million) in prize money, to warm up for his French Open title defence. He has two more tournaments before heading to Paris.

“Sometimes it takes a loss to wake up and shake you up for your approach the next week,” Federer said. “When you always win, sometimes you forget how hard it is. That’s why today I don’t get too worried about this loss.”

On Monday Federer teamed with Yves Allegro to win a doubles match, but the 16-time Grand Slam champion struggled with his consistency against Gulbis under a light rain.

“I don’t have a word in English for it. It’s indescribable,” Gulbis said of his win, before addressing his jitters. “I couldn’t put a serve in. I was shaking. I didn’t know what to do. It was a terrible feeling.”

Federer reached the semifinal here last year and has been a runner-up twice. The Rome Masters remains one of only three Masters Series events he has never won.

In other matches, Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka easily beat Jürgen Melzer of Austria 6-1, 6-2. and agencies

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