Roger Federer stunned by Latvian

Roger Federer stunned by Latvian unknown Ernests Gulbis at Rome Masters

Roger Federer suffered a shock second-round defeat at the Rome Masters, losing 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 to unfancied Latvian player Ernests Gulbis.

Roger Federer - Roger Federer stunned by Ernests Gulbis at Rome Masters
Derailed: Roger Federer suffered one of the biggest shocks of his career at the Rome Masters Photo: EPA

Federer's form dropped dramatically after a routine first set in his opening match of the clay court season. He lost the next two sets to dash any hopes of a showdown with arch-rival Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

It was Federer's first singles match in nearly a month. He took off several weeks after losing to Tomas Berdych in the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, on March 30.

Federer teamed with Yves Allegro to win a doubles match Monday at the Foro Italico, but the 16-time Grand Slam champion struggled with his consistency under a light rain as the match with Gulbis wore on.

Earlier, world number two Novak Djokovic was hardly stretched as he reached the third round at the Foro Italico, crushing Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 6-1.

Djokovic showed no signs of the service problems he'd suffered recently as he claimed victory in five seconds under the hour.

It was the 22-year-old Serbian's fourth win in four meetings with the Frenchman, one year his senior, who has yet to take a set off Djokovic.

And the second seed was quite happy to get this match out of the way quickly. "The sooner you finish the happier you are. I've played in this tournament many times so you don't need many hours to get used to the court," he said.

"I've been here practising five or six days so I was already used to the courts and wanted to finish as quickly as possible."

Djokovic's return of serve was particularly impressive against a player known for his big serve.

"Always in your first match in a tournament you don't know what to expect, especially playing against a player with such a hard serve, it can be difficult but I was very focused right from the first moment," he said.

"I think (the return) was one of the keys today, I knew he was going to serve well so I needed to return well to be in control of the match."

The 2008 champion here and finalist last year is playing in only his second clay court event of the season having reached the semi-finals in Monte Carlo two weeks ago.

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