France’s Gilles Simon piled more clay-court misery on Andy Roddick of the US to advance to the second round of the Rome International on Monday.
The player from Nice came away a 6-3, 6-3 winner against the No. 12 seed and next meets either Argentine Ignacio Chela or John Isner of the US for a place in the next round.
“I played a good match in difficult windy conditions,” Simon said. “Even if Andy is more at ease on this fast surface, 6-3, 6-3 against him, for me, it’s a very good result. I’ve been playing good tennis for some weeks.”
For Roddick it was his second first-round clay-court exit in as many weeks after falling a week ago at the Madrid Open.
“He moves very well, which you don’t want to see when you are short of matches like I was today, when you are not getting clean hits,” Roddick said. “We soon got into rallies and it became a battle striking the ball in movement, I was coming second sometimes.”
The 19th-ranked Simon broke twice to take the first set. The French player then recovered from an early break against him in the second set, reeling off four games, before sealing victory 6-3 with his first match point after 82 minutes on court for his second win against Roddick in four matches.
However, there was bad news for fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils, who was forced to withdraw from the tournament citing illness.
“I’m not 100 percent, I don’t have any energy,” said 10th seed Monfils, who had been scheduled to play Japan’s Kel Nishikori in the first round. “I haven’t felt well for a week. I’ve caught something, I’m not sure what. I’m going to have tests to see what will happen.”
Madrid Masters champion Novak Djokovic’s next opponent as he bids to extend his victory streak to 35 matches this year will be Poland’s Lukasz Kubot, who gained an impressive 7-6 (7/1), 2-6, 6-2 victory over Uruguayan clay-court specialist Pablo Cuevas, who was a semi-finalist at the recent Estoril Open.
Russia’s Igor Andreev advanced past Spain’s Pere Riba 6-4, 7-5.
In the WTA event, China’s Peng Shuai fell in a tough three setter 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (9/7) to Christia McHale of the US.
Spaniards Lourdes Dominguez and Anabel Medina Garrigues advanced to the second round. Dominguez beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 0-6, 7-6 (7/4), while Medina Garrigues saw off Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder 6-3, 6-2.
Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic also advanced past Argentina’s Gisela Dulko 6-2, 6-1, while French ninth seed Marion Bartoli had no problems in disposing of Spain’s Arantxa Parra-Santonja 6-2, 6-3.