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Masterful start

Federer overcame Mariano Zabaleta in straight sets


Switzerland's Roger Federer and Michel Kratochvil have both made winning starts to the latest Masters Series tournament in Monte Carlo.

Currently ranked 11th in the world, Federer took another step towards his goal of a place in the top ten on Tuesday, defeating Argentinian qualifier Mariano Zabaleta in the tournament's opening round.

The Swiss number one was made to work hard for the first set, eventually winning through in a 7-2 tie-break before wrapping up the second set 6-4.

Kratochvil comeback

Kratochvil (ATP 40) faced an even tougher time at the start of his match against Belarusian opponent Max Mirnyi. Currently ranked just two places below Mirnyi in the sport’s pecking order, Kratochvil was completely outplayed in the opening set and failed to win a single game.

But the 22-year-old from Bern then staged an impressive comeback to clinch an unlikely 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Kratochvil is likely to need a good deal more consistency in the second round when he is set to meet Spanish world number 26, Carlos Moya, who on Tuesday beat Australian world number one Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 6-3.

Federer meanwhile is due to meet the winner of Wednesday’s match between Germany’s Rainer Schüttler (ATP 32) and Argentina’s David Nalbandian (ATP 35).

Casanova coup

Also enjoying a first round win, although of a far more unexpected sort, was Swiss women's number six Myriam Casanova.

Having successfully made it through the qualifying rounds of a WTA tournament for the first ever time on Monday, the 16-year-old from St Gallen proceeded to upset Croatia's Jelena Kostanic in Tuesday's opening round action in Budapest.

Casanova's first ever victory in the main draw of a WTA senior event was impressively one-sided with the Swiss world number 348 downing the Croatian world number 82 in straight sets (6-3, 6-4).

If she is to further extend her dream run, the Swiss youngster will now have to see off either Hungary's Petra Mandula (WTA 56) or Slovakia's Lubomira Kurhajcova (WTA 175).

Meanwhile, in the United States, Swiss women's number two, Patty Schnyder, completed a successful day for the country's tennis players by winning her first round match at the WTA tournament in Charleston.

Schnyder saw off Spain's Virginia Ruano Pascual in straight sets (6-2, 6-3) to set up a second round meeting with French sixth seed Amélie Mauresmo.

swissinfo with agencies

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