Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - Former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro and heavy French crowd favorites Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet were a trio of second-round winners Tuesday at the $3.465 Monte Carlo Masters, the third ATP Masters 1000 event of the season.
The fifth-seeded Argentine del Potro had to come from behind to best Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 in exactly two hours, while the sixth-seeded former Australian Open runner-up Tsonga handled former world No. 3 Russian Nikolay Davydenko 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 and the seventh-seeded Gasquet snuck past quality compatriot Benoit Paire 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 on the famed red clay at Monte Carlo Country Club.
In other second-round action involving seeds, rising Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov upset No. 8 Serb Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 and No. 16 German Philipp Kohlschreiber held off Spanish qualifier Pablo Andujar 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3).
In opening-round play on Day 3, 10th-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro overcame tough Belgian David Goffin 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 13th-seeded Swiss slugger Stanislas Wawrinka topped Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-3, 7-5 and 14th-seeded Argentine Juan Monaco whipped quality Slovak Martin Klizan 6-4, 6-0. Almagro was last week's clay-court runner-up in Houston.
Another first-round matchup saw capable Latvian Ernests Gulbis fight back to erase 6-foot-9 American John Isner 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in 1 hour, 48 minutes. Gulbis out-aced the massive-serving Isner, 11-6.
The wild card Isner was fresh off his first-ever clay-court title last week in Houston, where he upset a top-seeded Almagro in the finale.
Also in the first round, Spanish qualifier Albert Montanes doused wild card Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, Aussie Marinko Matosevic straight-setted Spanish southpaw Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-3 and Spanish qualifier Albert Ramos rolled past Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-3. Verdasco was the Monte Carlo runner-up three years ago.
Additional opening-round wins came for Spaniard Marcel Granollers, German Florian Mayer, Austrian Jurgen Melzer, and big-serving South African Kevin Anderson, who was a clay-court runner-up in Casablanca last week.
This prestigious tennis event, which dates all the way back to 1897, has been captured the last eight years by the great 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 event and owns a record 22 Masters titles overall.
The world No. 1 Djokovic, who has been nursing an ankle injury for two weeks, is scheduled to meet Russian Mikhail Youzhny in the second round on Wednesday. Djokovic told reporters before the tournament he could not guarantee he would be ready to play this week, but after a few days of practice he is pleased with how his injured ankle has held up on the clay and has declared himself ready to go.
"I'm very excited about it to be honest because in the last 6-7 days I've been doing everything in my power after the incident in Davis Cup to recover," Djokovic said. "My ankle is in a state that is good enough for me to perform tomorrow and hopefully I can perform my best and win and see how it goes day by day."
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 French qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Wednesday, while Nadal will tangle with Matosevic.
Also on Wednesday, fourth-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych will face Granollers.