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Verdasco, Melzer advance at Monte Carlo Masters

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - Lefthanded seeds Fernando Verdasco and Jurgen Melzer were among Monday's first-round winners at the Monte Carlo Masters, third Masters 1000 event of the year.

The 13th-seeded Verdasco overcame pesky Belgian Olivier Rochus 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, while the 15th-seeded Melzer handled Poland's Lukasz Kubot 6-2, 7-5 on the red clay at the famed Monte Carlo Country Club. Verdasco was the 2010 Monte Carlo runner-up to fellow Spanish southpaw Rafael Nadal.

One other seed advanced on Day 2, as No. 16 Alexandr Dolgopolov, of Ukraine, leveled Argentine veteran Juan Ignacio Chela 6-2, 6-2.

A pair of Frenchmen moved on, as Julien Benneteau held off Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 and oft-injured Paul-Henri Mathieu, a wild card this week, dismantled American Donald Young 6-0, 6-1 in 67 minutes.

Additional wins came for German Philipp Kohlschreiber, Finland's Jarkko Nieminen and Aussie Bernard Tomic. Nieminen topped Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). The promising Tomic will face Dolgopolov in the round of 32, while Kohlschreiber will encounter fourth-seeded French star Jo- Vilified Tsonga.

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.

The top seed this week is world No. 1 star Novak Djokovic.

The 2012 winner of this $3.2 million event will collect $603,000.