Cilic, Raonic advance; Simon exits Monte Carlo Masters

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - Seeded sluggers Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic posted opening-round victories, while Frenchman Gilles Simon went by way of the upset Monday at the $3.465 Monte Carlo Masters, the third ATP Masters 1000 event of the season.

The ninth-seeded Croat Cilic held off Argentine Horacio Zeballos 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, while the 12th-seeded Canadian Raonic rolled past Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-1, 6-4 on the famed red clay at Monte Carlo Country Club.

The 11th-seeded Simon, meanwhile, was upended by rising Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) on Day 2.

Another upset came when Fabio Fognini took out 15th-seeded fellow Italian Andreas Seppi, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

In other opening-round action, Russian Mikhail Youzhny handled Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-4, 6-0; Finn Jarkko Nieminen whipped Serb Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-2; Spanish qualifier Pablo Andujar overcame France's Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 6-2; former top-five Russian Nikolay Davydenko dismissed German qualifier Daniel Brands 6-3, 6-4; French qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin drilled Dutchman Robin Haase 6-3, 6-2; and France's Benoit Paire clipped Croat Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-4.

The first round will conclude and the second round will get underway on Tuesday, including matches for fifth-seeded former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, sixth-seeded former Aussie Open runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, seventh-seeded French star Richard Gasquet, and eighth-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic. The flashy Frenchman Tsonga will battle Davydenko on Day 3.

This prestigious tennis event, which dates all the way back to 1897, has been captured the last eight years by the record-setting Rafael Nadal, who topped Novak Djokovic in last year's marquee finale. Last year's final marked a rematch of the 2009 title match, which was also won by the clay-court king Nadal.

Nadal is 44-1 lifetime at this particular event and owns a record 22 Masters shields overall.

The world No. 1 Djokovic, who has been nursing an ankle injury, is scheduled to meet Youzhny in the second round this week.

This week's other top seeds are U.S. Open champion Andy Murray and the French Open stalwart Nadal. Murray's first bout of the week will come against Roger- Vasselin, while Nadal awaits the Fernando Verdasco-Marinko Matosevic winner.