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Roddick exits Rome in first round



Rome, Italy (Sports Network) - Unable to find his way thus far on the European red clay, former world No. 1 Andy Roddick came up a first-round loser Monday at the Italian Masters.

A 12th-seeded Roddick gave way to 19th-ranked former top-10 Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-3 at the beautiful Foro Italico. The big-serving American bowed out in 1 hour, 22 minutes and struck only one ace on Day 2.

Roddick also dropped his 2011 European dirt debut match last week in Madrid and has lost his last four matches overall.

Eleventh-seeded American Mardy Fish avoided an opening-round setback by overcoming Colombian Santiago Giraldo, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, while 15th-seeded Serb Viktor Troicki advanced with a 6-4, 7-5 decision against former top-five Russian Nikolay Davydenko.

Belgian Xavier Malisse handled Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5, 6-2, while quality Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky outlasted Romanian qualifier Victor Hanescu 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6).

Additional wins came for Italian Potito Starace, Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot, Russian qualifier Igor Andreev, Finn Jarkko Nieminen and Frenchman Jo- Wilfried Tsonga, who will face Roger Federer in the second round.

World No. 1 star Rafael Nadal is the two-time defending champion in Rome and will look to win this title for a sixth time, having also triumphed here from 2005-2007. The Spanish strongman owns a brilliant 27-1 lifetime record at Foro Italico, including a victory over David Ferrer in last year's all-Spanish finale.

Nadal is joined in the field this week by soaring Serb Novak Djokovic and Federer, a 16-time major champion and two-time Rome runner-up. Djokovic has yet to lose this year, going 32-0 with six titles, including one at last week's Madrid Masters, where he upended the reigning champion Nadal in the marquee finale.

The 2008 Rome titlist Djokovic will face Kubot here in the round of 32.

Rome is one of the most glamorous stops on the ATP World Tour and marks the last big clay-court event before the French Open, which will get underway May 22 in Paris.

This week's champion will claim $645,000.

05/09 18:09:34 ET