Swiss third seed Roger Federer's Rome Masters bid ended at the third round with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 defeat to Austrian 13th seed Dominic Thiem on Thursday.
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 ailing Federer in 1hr 18mins.
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