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Tennis | ATP

Bernard Tomic © Gallo Images

Tomic trounced in Monte Carlo opener



Bernard Tomic's European claycourt season got off to the worst possible start as the Australian went down 6-2, 6-4 to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday.

Tomic, who now has a base in the tax-free principality, failed to shine in his new locale, losing in one hour to the 22nd-ranked Ukrainian who has now won four of their five career meetings.

The result was a repeat of the defeat Tomic suffered to the same player in the same tournament a year ago in the second round.

The 43rd-ranked Queenslander was broken three times in the brief affair which marked his ATP spring introduction to the clay after winning both of his Davis Cup ties on the surface in Uzbekistan last weekend.

The Australian's loss was his seventh of the season against 13 wins; he now stands 1-3 in Monte Carlo.

With leading seeds given first-round byes at the cliffside Monte Carlo Country Club, only three main draw matches were scheduled on Sunday as the qualifying round wrapped up on a postcard perfect day on the Mediterranean coast.

German Philipp Kohlschreiber, a two-time quarterfinalist, became the first seed into the second round as the number 16 dispatched Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-4, 6-2.

Highly-regarded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria also made it through with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Belgium's Xavier Malisse.

All eyes at the tournament will be on third seed Rafael Nadal who is bidding for an unprecedented ninth straight trophy at the event.

World No 1 Novak Djokovic, twice a runner-up, is the top seed although he has been carrying an ankle injury picked up in Serbia's Davis Cup win over the United States last week.

Britain's Andy Murray, the Miami champion a fortnight ago, takes the second seeding and could line up against Nadal in a possible semifinal.

World No 2 Murray is in some danger, however, with calculations suggesting that if he loses before the quarterfinals, his place in the rankings will be retaken by Roger Federer.

The Swiss, currently third in the world , is missing the only optional Masters to continue a pre-planned training block in his native Switzerland.

His return is set for the Madrid Masters in three weeks, where he will be defending his 2012 title won on controversial blue clay.

Spanish grinder David Ferrer, the losing finalist in Miami to Murray and the 2011 runner-up to Nadal in Monte Carlo, withdrew before the start with a thigh injury.

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