|Andy Murray, left, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga advanced to the third round at the Monte Carlo Masters. (Eric Gaillard/REUTERS)
ROQUEBRUNE-CAP-MARTIN, FRANCE - British star Andy Murray and birthday boy Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were a pair of second-round winners Tuesday at the Monte Carlo Masters, the third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year.
The third-seeded Murray mauled Serb Viktor Troicki 6-0, 6-3 in 67 minutes, while the fourth-seeded French favorite Tsonga, who turned 27 Tuesday, trounced German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-4 on the red clay at the famed Monte Carlo Country Club.
Murray and Tsonga were among those who received a bye into the second round.
"Normally when I come here I usually find I need a few matches to get adjusted," Murray said. "But I played very well, it was a very good first match."
Thirteenth-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco also moved into the third round with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Croat Ivan Dodig. Verdasco was the 2010 Monte Carlo runner-up to fellow Spanish lefthander Rafael Nadal, who is this week's second seed behind reigning Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic.
Verdasco should have his hands full with Tsonga in the round of 16 on Thursday.
The great Nadal won an Open Era-record seventh consecutive title here last year and is a staggering 39-1 lifetime in Monte Carlo. He topped David Ferrer in last year's all-Spanish finale.
Nadal and fellow former No. 1 Roger Federer are the all-time leaders with 19 Masters titles apiece.
First-round upsets came Tuesday when Swiss Stan Wawrinka leveled 10th-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 6-4 and Kazakhstanian qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin fought back to beat 14th-seeded German Florian Mayer 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Twelfth-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori avoided an opening-round upset by dousing Albert Ramos 6-2, 7-5. Ramos reached his first-ever ATP final in Casablanca last week and finished as a runner-up to fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar.
France's Michael Llodra exited the draw by succumbing to Italian Fabio Fognini 7-5, 6-3 on Day 3.
Additional opening-round wins came for Italians Andreas Seppi, Filippo Volandri and wild card Potito Starace, Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci, and Portuguese qualifier Frederico Gil, who drilled former top-10 Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-1, 6-3. Bellucci handled South African slugger Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4. Seppi is rewarded with a second-round match against the world No. 1 and 2009 Monte Carlo runner-up Djokovic, while Bellucci will face the 2011 Monte Carlo runner-up Ferrer on Wednesday.
The 2012 winner of this $3.2 million event will collect $603,000.