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It was a day without many shocks or surprises as action at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia continued on the much less controversial red clay in Rome. The top 8 seeds all received first round byes, leaving the next rung of tennis talent at the center of attention for yet another day.
Spanish Davis Cup hero Fernando Verdasco, who stunned Rafael Nadal in Madrid last week, had it easy as his unfortunate opponent Alexander Dolgopolov retired with a stomach problem after Verdasco won the first set 6-0. As his reward, Verdasco earned a second round meeting with 6th seed and compatriot David Ferrer in what should be an exciting second round match.
Among the seeded players, 13th seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils and 12th seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro advanced to the 2nd round. Monfils defeated American Alex Bogomolov Jr. in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1 while Almagro got the better of hard-hitting Croat Marin Cilic 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.
Former world no.3 David Nalbandian had a comfortable outing as he blazed past Spanish qualifier Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-4 to set earn a second round meeting with no.4 seed Andy Murray. Australian teenager Bernard Tomic meanwhile came back from a set behind to beat Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Tomic will now face World no.1 Novak Djokovic in round 2.
In other matches, Italian wild-card Fabio Fognini comfortably went past 2006 Australian Open runner-up, Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 6-2. And Carlos Berlocq beat Serbian qualifier Blaz Kavcic 6-1, 6-3 to earn a second round clash with newly crowned Madrid champion, Swiss maestro Roger Federer.
The day also experienced some exciting battles as Czech Radek Stepanek rallied to beat Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 while Stanislas Wawrinka overcame Dutch qualifier Robin Hasse 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.
In the late evening match, world no.10 John Isner battled back from losing the first set to beat Munich chamion Philipp Kohlschreiber in three sets, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic will start his title defence on Tuesday while David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will also be in action. Tsonga will take on Serbian Viktor Troicki, a three set winner against Filippo Volandri yesterday.
F.Verdasco def A.Dolgopolov 6-0 ret.
F.Fognini def M.Baghdatis 6-2 6-2
(13) G.Monfils def A.Bogomolov Jr. 6-4 6-1
B.Tomic def S.Giraldo 4-6 6-2 6-4
(12) N.Almagro def M.Cilic 6-2 3-6 6-0
D.Nalbandian def A.Ramos 6-3 6-4
R. Stepanek def J.I.Chela 2-6 6-0 6-3
S.Wawrinka def R.Hasse 6-1 4-6 7-5
C.Berlocq def B.Kavcic 6-1 6-3
File Photograph Copyright: Madrid Masters
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