MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro and former Australian Open runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were among Monday's first-round winners at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The ninth-seeded Almagro rolled past fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-3, while the 12th-seeded Tsonga outlasted pesky Argentine Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 on the red clay at the prestigious Monte Carlo Country Club. Almagro already owns a pair of clay-court titles this season and was the runner-up at one other event on the dirt.
Monte Carlo marks the third ATP Masters event of the year.
An upset came when quality German Florian Mayer took out 10th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
Three other seeds avoided upsets, as No. 11 Serb Viktor Troicki topped French wild card Jean-Rene Lisnard 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, No. 13 Frenchman Richard Gasquet overcame Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, and No. 15 Croat Marin Cilic charged past Italian qualifier Filippo Volandri 6-2, 6-1.
Additional opening-round wins came for Belgian qualifier Olivier Rochus, Czech wild card Radek Stepanek, Finn Jarkko Nieminen, Portuguese qualifier Frederico Gil, Spaniards Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Tommy Robredo, and Dutchman Robin Haase, who stopped fading former top-five Russian star Nikolay Davydenko 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. Stepanek saved two match points before coming from behind to best former Aussie Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7), while the former top-10 star Robredo routed Croat Ivan Dodig. Nieminen downed French qualifier Julien Benneteau in Monday's nightcap to set- up a second-round match with clay-court king Rafael Nadal.
The great Nadal is this week's top seed and six-time reigning Monte Carlo champion. The super Spaniard is a staggering 34-1 lifetime here, including a victory over Fernando Verdasco in last year's all-Spanish finale.
The reigning U.S. Open, Wimbledon and French Open champ Nadal is joined in the field this week by three-time Monte Carlo runner-up Roger Federer and Australian Open finalist Andy Murray. A second-seeded Federer will open his week against German Philipp Kohlschreiber here on Tuesday.
This year's Monte Carlo champ will collect $625,000.