Nadal Not Happy; Safin, Moya Lose at Monte Carlo

Posted on April 19, 2006

Two former No. 1s, a semifinalist from last year at Roland Garros and the reigning Olympic champ were among the high-profile exits Tuesday on the clay at the Masters Series-Monte Carlo.

French crowd favorite Paul-Henri Mathieu took advantage of an illness-sapped Marat Safin, handing the former No. 1 a bagel en route to a 6-0, 7-5 win.

"I was missing a little bit of energy," Safin told reporters. "I got sick two, three days ago, and I'm still little bit weak, so it's difficult to run around and try to make winners all over the court, especially on clay. So I had to work a little bit harder, and unfortunately, I'm not really ready for this."

The event lost another former No. 1 when French Open champ Carlos Moya ran out of gas in the third set, losing his opener 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to No. 12 seed Fernando Gonzalez.

Aside from the high-profile unseeded losers, No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko was the only seed to fall Tuesday, exiting in three sets to Swede Robin Soderling.

Other seeded winners Tuesday were (2) Rafael Nadal (d. Clement), (4) Ivan Ljubicic (d. Andreev in three), (6) Guillermo Coria (d. Youzhny), (8) David Ferrer (d. the Olympic champ Massu in three, bagel in the first), (13) Sebastien Grosjean (d. Verdasco), and (16) Tomas Berdych (d. Santoro).

Nadal gained revenge against Clement for a loss earlier this year, struggling with nerves during his claycourt debut of the French Open run-up.

"Maybe I don't play very good, but is normal," Nadal told reporters after winning his 37th consecutive dirt match. "I lost in Miami first round. My first match on clay, so I was a little bit nervous, but that's normal. And then I am happy because I am practicing very good every day. So when I finish my nervous, I think, and when I gonna play a little bit more aggressive, maybe I gonna play good."

Andy Murray was another high-profile unseeded loser, with the coachless Scot failing to capitalize on a set lead in a 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 setback against wildcard Jean-Rene Lisnard.

"I knew I wasn't a hundred percent fit coming into the match," said Murray who suffered from cramps during his loss, and was up a break in the third. "Since my match in Miami, I had very little time to practice because of the ankle injury and then the sickness. Obviously, this is my first match on clay, so I wasn't expecting to play great and feel great on the court. But, you know, I had a lot of chances to win the match."

Seeds in action Wednesday in Monte Carlo are (3) Nalbandian vs. Seppi, (6) Guillermo "El Mago" Coria vs. Mathieu, (1) Federer vs. A.Martin, (WC) Lisnard vs. (2) Nadal, (11) Ferrero vs. Chela, (Q) Balleret vs. (13) Grosjean, (WC) Simon vs. (16) Berdych, (12) Fernando "Gonzo" Gonzalez vs. Feliciano "F-Lo" Lopez, (15) Robredo vs. Olivier "The Roach" Rochus, (WC) Llodra vs. (9) Kiefer, (4) Ljubicic vs. Serra, (7) Gaudio vs. Acasuso, (Q) Di Mauro vs. (10) Stepanek, and Dominik "The Dominator" Hrbaty vs. (8) Ferrer.