AFP: ROME: Roger Federer’s Rome Masters bid ended with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 third round defeat to Austrian 13th seed Dominic Thiem, as world number one Serena Williams sailed into the Italian Open quarters on Thursday (May 12).
Swiss third seed Federer, who withdrew last week from Madrid with back pain, admitted Wednesday he had been surprised to get past second round opponent Alexander Zverev in straight sets.
Rome marks only the fourth tournament of the season for Federer, who underwent knee surgery in early February, the first operation of his career.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion only decided to face Thiem at the last minute on Central Court, and the Austrian capitalised to finish off an obviously ailing Federer in 1hr 18mins.
In the quarter-finals, Thiem will now play Japan’s sixth seed Kei Nishikori, who swept aside French 11th seed Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-4.
Williams, meanwhile, overcame a tight first set against compatriot and qualifier Christina McHale to prevail 7-6 (9/7), 6-1 and maintain her bid for a fourth Italian Open crown.
The American world number one is also seeking a fourth French Open title and admitted her quarter-final opponent, Svetlana Kuznetsova, who stunned 2015 finalist Carla Suarez Navarro 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, should give her a good run-out.