Having skipped Madrid to be with his family last week, Federer faced Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in his first match, and came racing out of the blocks to take the opening set 6-1. Chardy came roaring back though, taking the second set 6-3, and Roger continued to struggle in the decider, going a break down and saving more break points at 2-4 before fighting back to force a tie-break. The Swiss was gifted the chance to close out the match when Chardy double-faulted at 5-5, but the Frenchman fired an amazing forehand cross-court and went on to secure a massive result. Federer now goes into the French Open on the back foot, with this match the only one he's played since losing the Monte Carlo final to Stanislas Wawrinka.
Murray Makes Amends
The Scot continues to endure a difficult 2014, losing heavily to Santiago Giraldo in Madrid last week, but Murray looked every part the grand slam champion as he opened his account in The Eternal City, atoning for last year's retirement at this stage against Marcel Granollers by defeating the Spaniard in straight sets. Looking more at home on the dirt, the world number 8 balanced aggression and consistency in tricky conditions to progress to a third round tie with Jurgen Melzer, where he'll fancy his chances of progressing to the quarter-finals.
Rafa Made To Work
Despite leaving Madrid with another trophy to try and fit in his cabinet, the manner in which Nadal was bullied by Kei Nishikori for the majority of Sunday's final left, if anything, more questions being asked about his usually imperious clay form as the French Open draws closer. The last thing he needed, then, was to come up against an inspired Gilles Simon in his Rome opener, who saved match point in the second set to force a decider. The Spaniard cut a frustrated figure for much of the middle set, but in typical fashion, Rafa came through to take the third set 6-2, the Frenchman not quite able to keep up the good work after over three hours of trading body blows with the King of Clay.
Lucas Rosol turned heads on Monday with a very impressive win against Fabio Fognini in the first round, but the Czech was brought crashing down to earth as he was dismissed with ease by Ivan Dodig today, who goes through to face Jeremy Chardy in the last 16. Dodig's fellow Croatian Marin Cilic was defeated in three sets by Jurgen Melzer, while Mikhail Youzhny progressed thanks to Andrey Golubev's withdrawal, having led the match 7-5 4-1. Ernests Gulbis obliterated a racket before overcoming Stephane Robert in three sets, while elsewhere there were routine wins for Tommy Haas over Igor Sijsling and Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated Ivo Karlovic. Tomas Berdych set up a 3rd round clash with the young Bulgarian with a comfortable victory over Dmitry Tursunov, and finally, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame Kevin Anderson in two tie breaks, the first of which took thirty points to decide.
All eight round three matches take place in the Italian capital tomorrow, with Stanislas Wawrinka and Tommy Haas getting the action underway on Centrale, later followed by Nadal and Youzhny, with Novak Djokovic taking on Philipp Kohlschreiber in the evening match. A mouth-watering tie between Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga kicks off the men's action on Grandstand court, followed by Andy Murray's meeting with Jurgen Melzer. David Ferrer and Ernests Gulbis go head to head in the evening session, as the Latvian looks to avenge last week's straight sets defeat to the Spanish terrier. The remaining pair of matches take part on Pietrangeli, with Ivan Dodig and Jeremy Chardy going at it before Grigor Dimitrov and Tomas Berdych in the afternoon.
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