Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten loses to German Rainer Schuettler in the opening round of Monte Carlo Masters.
updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
Monaco:Gustavo Kuerten, the popular Brazilian who won the ATP Tour's Monte Carlo Masters in 1999 and 2001, was beaten 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 by German Rainer Schuettler, a loser in seven of his eight previous opening matches this season, on Monday in the opening round in Monaco. Elsewhere, Max Mirnyi defeated 13th seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-4, 6-3 while third-seeded Guillermo Coria of Argentina, the runner-up last year, thrashed Sweden's Thomas Enqvist 6-0, 6-1 in just 48 minutes while Spaniard Felix Mantilla beat the 2002 French Open champion, his compatriot Albert Costa, 6-4, 7-5, to book a place in round two at the $2.92 million-dollar event in the principality. With a $2.92 million-dollar purse to be won at the ATP Tour's Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco, the first round was always going to be keenly contested despite the string of big-name withdrawals on the eve of the tournament. Andy Roddick, the US Open champion, pulled out, along with two other American tennis players, James Blake and big-serving Mardy Fish while Andre Agassi, an eight-time Grand Slam winner, and world number one Roger Federer have also withdrawn from the tournament - won for the past two years by Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero. Mirnyi wins First up on court, Max Mirnyi of Belarus faced Chilean Fernando Gonzalez. Gonzalez was seeded 13 but Mirnyi's fine volley on forehand secured the break on set point at 30-40 at 4-5 in the first set as the Belorussian took the opening set 6-4. Match point soon followed and a fine serve and volley from Mirnyi sealed a 6-4, 6-3 victory and a place in the second round. The next match on court in the first round saw an all-Spanish clash. Felix Mantilla faced Albert Costa, the 2002 French Open champion, but it was Mantilla who took the honours on clay this time. On match point, an appalling forehand from Costa went long to gift Mantilla a 6-4, 7-5 victory and a place in the second round. Schuettler strikes form The crowd then looked forward to one of the most intriguing matches of the day. The fourth-seeded German, Rainer Schuettler, faced the 1999 and 2001 Monte Carlo Masters champion Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil. Schuettler, a loser in seven of his eight previous opening matches this season, cast the form book aside on his favourite surface as a powerful forehand allowed the German to take a 5-2 lead in the first set tie-break. A brilliant drop shot on his backhand then followed to give Schuettler set point at 6-3 in the first set tie-break. Kuerten's then backhand hit the net to allow Schuettler to take the first set 7-6 (7-3) before, on match point, Kuerten hit a simple forehand long to commit another unforced error and seal a 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 win for the German. Given his form this season, the German was delighted. In the final match of the evening session, third-seeded Guillermo Coria of Argentina thrashed Swede Thomas Enqvist 6-0, 6-1 in just 48 minutes as he also progressed to the second round. (AP)