Rome, Italy – World No. 13 Marin Cilic was an easy opening-round winner, while Canadian slugger Milos Raonic came up a loser Monday at the Italian Masters tennis event, a clay-court French Open tune-up.
The 11th-seeded Croatian Cilic handled Kazakhstani qualifier Andrey Golubev 6-4, 6-2, while quality German Philipp Kohlschreiber ousted the 14th-seeded Raonic 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 in 77 minutes at beautiful Foro Italico.
Meanwhile, 16th-seeded rising Japanese Kei Nishikori drove out Italian wild card Paolo Lorenzi 6-2, 6-4 in Monday's nightcap.
Talented Latvian Ernests Gulbis, a qualifier this week, advanced by beating veteran Finnish left-hander Jarkko Nieminen, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), while 6-foot-8 rising Pole Jerzy Janowicz handled Colombian Santiago Giraldo 7-5, 6-2.
An all-Italian affair Monday saw Fabio Fognini douse Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-1. Fognini should have his hands full with clay-court king Rafael Nadal in his next outing. The amazing Nadal was last week's Masters champion in Madrid.
The six-time Rome champion Nadal beat 2011 titlist and two-time winner Novak Djokovic in last year's marquee finale.
Also on Day 2, Spanish qualifier Albert Montanes overcame quality Slovak Martin Klizan 3-6, 7-5, 6-3; Italian Potito Starace came back to beat Czech Radek Stepanek 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov topped Belgian Xavier Malisse 6-2, 3-1, retired; France's Benoit Paire outlasted Argentine Juan Monaco 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 6-4; and Spaniard Albert Ramos dismissed Czech qualifier Jan Hajek 7-5, 6-0. Montanes is rewarded with a second-round match against the world No. 1 superstar Djokovic on Tuesday, while the wild card Starace will encounter the great Roger Federer on Day 3.
The first round will wrap-up on Tuesday, while the second round will commence, including matches for the No. 1 Djokovic, the second-seeded Federer, sixth- seeded Tomas Berdych and former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.
The 2013 Rome winner will take home $660,000.