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Monaco Makes Perfect Start; Second Seed Almagro Upset

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Juan MonacoSergio Llamera

The 2007 champion Juan Monaco (pictured) of Argentina made the perfect start to his Copa Telmex campaign by defeating compatriot and wild card Sergio Roitman 6-0, 6-0 in the first round of the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament on Tuesday in Buenos Aires.

Despite recording a first serve percentage of 33 per cent, Monaco was unbroken in the encounter and took advantage of six of the 10 break points he created on Roitman’s serve to secure victory after 58 minutes, having dropped only nine points on serve throughout. It was the first double bagel to occur on the ATP World Tour since David Ferrer defeated Paul Goldstein 6-0, 6-0 in the Barcelona first round in April 2007.

The Buenos Aires resident, who improved to a 4-4 match record on the season, captured one of his three ATP World Tour titles at his local event in 2007 with victory over Alessio Di Mauro. The 67th-ranked Monaco reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season two weeks ago in Vina del Mar (l. to F. Gonzalez) and will look to reach a second when he faces countryman Martin Vassallo Arguello next. Vassallo Arguello upset sixth-seeded Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-3.

Second seed Nicolas Almagro of Spain also suffered a surprise first round exit, falling to compatriot Oscar Hernandez as the 77th-ranked Barcelona resident prevailed 6-2, 1-6, 6-3. Almagro, a semi-finalist in 2007, looked to be back on track after dropping the first set as he broke twice in the second set to level the match. However, the 30-year-old Hernandez – who lost to Almagro in the second round last year – rallied to break serve once more in the final set and close out the victory after one hour and 52 minutes. Hernandez faces a second round clash with Argentina’s Diego Junqueira, who knocked out Chilean Nicolas Massu 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Two-time Copa Telmex champion and fourth seed Carlos Moya became the third seeded Spaniard to fall in first round action Tuesday, succumbing to Argentine qualifier Maximo Gonzalez 6-4, 6-4. Former World No. 1 Moya, who also bowed out in the first round last year in Buenos Aires, had won the title in 2003 (d. Coria) and ’06 (d. Volandri) and was runner-up in ‘04 (l. to Coria). Tandil-native Gonzalez also qualified into the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament at Vina del Mar two weeks ago and reached the second round (l. to F. Gonzalez).

Third seed Tommy Robredo won his sixth successive match on the ATP World Tour as he rallied from a one-set deficit to defeat Potito Starace 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. The Spaniard won his eighth ATP World Tour title last week in Costa do Sauipe (d. Bellucci) and also picked up the doubles title with compatriot Marcel Granollers. The 26-year-old Robredo has compiled a 12-3 match record to start the 2009 tennis season, having also reached the semi-finals in Vina del Mar (l. to Acasuso) and the Australian Open (l. to Roddick) fourth round. The right-hander is returning to Buenos Aires for the first time since a second round exit on his debut in 2001 (l. to Vicente).

Fifth seed Jose Acasuso (pictured right) booked his place in the second round with a 6-2, 7-6(4) victory over Spanish qualifier Daniel Munoz-De La Nava. In a match featuring eight breaks of serve, Acasuso converted five of seven break points to secure the victory in one hour and 49 minutes. In the second round, he will face Italian Fabio Fognini, who defeated Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-3, 6-2.

The 35th-ranked Acasuso has made a strong start to the South American “Golden Swing”. He reached his 11th ATP World Tour final (3-8 record) in Vina del Mar (l. to F. Gonzalez) and was a semi-finalist last week in Costa do Sauipe (l. to Robredo). The Buenos Aires resident has twice before reached the final in his hometown event, losing to Gustavo Kuerten in 2001 and David Nalbandian last year. He improved to a 19-9 event record.

Seventh-seeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers progressed to the second round with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Thomaz Bellucci, who last week reached his first ATP World Tour final in Costa do Sauipe (l. to Robredo). The 22-year-old Granollers is currently a career-high No. 44 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings. He reached the semi-finals at Chennai (l. to Cilic) in the first week of the season and has a 6-5 match record. He will face compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero in the second round.

Also Tuesday, Uruguayan qualifier Pablo Cuevas held Argentine No. 8 seed Eduardo Schwank to three points total in the final set to earn a 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-0 win. Meanwhile, Spaniard Daniel-Gimeno Traver ousted 2005 Buenos Aires winner Gaston Gaudio of Argentina 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Former World No. 5 Gaudio, the 2004 Roland Garros champion, had been looking for his first tour-level victory since May 2007.

 

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