Frenchman Jeremy Chardy caused the shock of the tournament at the Rome Masters on Wednesday, as he knocked out Roger Federer in the second round in three sets.
Federer, a three time finalist at the clay court tournament, missed out on a chance to clinch the match in the 12th game of the third set when he had a match point, but Chardy fought back to take a 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 victory.
Chardy, ranked 47 in the world, lost a one-sided first set in windy conditions, and then fought back with a range of powerful forehand winners to bring himself back into the match, before taking the advantage in the deciding set and getting the first break of serve.
But Federer then came back from 4-2 down to lead 6-5, and forced a match point when Chardy double faulted, before another forehand winner kept the 27-year-old in the contest.
Chardy then went on to win the tie-break 8-6 to complete a stunning win, which was his first against a player in the world’s top 10 in 2014, and he is now level at one win apiece with Federer in their head to head meetings.
He was overwhelmed with his unlikely win, and paid tribute to his Swiss opponent.
Chardy said after the match: "Beating Roger, for sure, is the best win ever.
“For me, he's the best player, he's like a legend. Normally, you cannot have an idol when you play, but I really like the way he plays. So, for me, it's really good to win today.”
Federer, who has seen his ranking rise from seventh to fourth in 2014, thought there was little to choose between both players.
"I think we both struggled to win today and in the end a shot here or there decided the match," said Federer.
"He gave me a double fault to give me match point. I missed my first serve, which was crucial, but credit to him to give it a go. A passing shot is a tough one for me to take. Credit to him for fighting his way back into the match."
The win marked the first back to back victories that Chardy has completed since reaching the quarter-finals in Buenos Aires in February, and he is aiming to get to the quarter-finals in Rome for the first time.
It was the first tournament Federer had played in since the Monte Carlo Masters in April, as he did not appear at the Madrid Masters last week to be at the birth of his twin sons.
The 17 time Grand Slam champion is lacking match practice on clay in the lead up to the French Open, which starts on Sunday May 25th, and as fourth seed he will be disappointed to have failed to win a match at the Foro Italico after being given a bye through the first round.
The 32-year-old is yet to win the tournament, as he lost in the final in 2003 to Spaniard Felix Mantilla, as well as the 2006 and 2013 finals to defending champion Rafael Nadal, also of Spain.
Croatian Ivan Dodig stands in Chardy’s way of an appearance in the last eight, as he defeated Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2.
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