ATP Tour

Tomic trounced by Dolgopolov

Bernard Tomic (AFP)
Bernard Tomic (AFP)

Monte Carlo - Bernard Tomic's European clay court season got off to the worst possible start as the Australian went down 6-2, 6-4 to Alexandr Dolgopolov to exit in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday.

Tomic, who now has a base in the tax-free principality, failed to shine in his new locale, losing in a quick one hour to the Ukranian ranked 22 who has now won four of their five career meetings.

The result was a duplicate of the defeat Tomic suffered to the Ukranian here a year ago in the second round.

The number 43rd ranked Queenslander was broken three times in the brief affair which marked his ATP spring introduction to the clay after winning both of his Davis Cup ties on the surface in Uzbekistan last weekend.

The Australian's loss was his seventh of the season against 13 wins; he now stands 1-3 in Monte Carlo.

With leading seeds given first-round byes at the cliffside Country Club, only three main draw matches were scheduled on the day as the qualifying round wrapped up on a postcard perfect day on the Mediterranean coast.

German Philipp Kohlschreiber, a two-time quarter-finalist, became the first seed into the second round as the tournament number 16 dispatched Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-4, 6-2.

Action for leading lights should highlight play from Monday, though elite seeds are unlikely to take to the courts before Tuesday at the earliest.

All eyes are on third seed Rafael Nadal, starting a bid for an unprecedented ninth straight trophy at the event which he has dominated.

Scot Andy Murray, the Miami champion a fortnight ago, takes the second seeding and could be lining up against Spain's king of clay in a possible semi-final.

But new world number two Murray is also in danger, with calculations suggesting that if he loses before the quarter-finals, his place in the rankings will be taken back by Roger Federer.

The Swiss, currently third, is missing the only optional Masters 1000 to continue a pre-planned training block in his native Switzerland. His return is set for the Madrid Masters in three weeks, where he will be defending his 2012 title won on controversial blue clay.

Spanish grinder David Ferrer, losing finalist in Miami to Murray and the 2011 losing finalist here to Nadal, withdrew before the start with the thigh injury which bothered him in Florida.

Latest results on the opening day of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday (x denotes seeding):

First round

Aleksandr Dolgopolov (UKR) bt Bernard Tomic (AUS) 6-2, 6-4
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x16) bt Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 6-4, 6-2
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) bt Xavier Malisse (BEL) 6-3, 6-2

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