19th-seeded Cilic eliminated from French Open

Last Updated: May 22, 2011, 21:55 PM IST

Paris: Marin Cilic became the first seeded player to be eliminated from the French Open, losing to Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 Sunday in the first round.

The 19th-seeded Cilic, who reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, is a former top-10 player. But he had 67 unforced errors in the match and was broken five times.

For Ramirez Hidalgo, it was only his fourth win in 15 Grand Slam tournaments. Besides reaching the fourth round at the 2006 French Open, the Spaniard lost in the first round in each of his other 13 appearances at the four biggest tournaments on the tennis circuit.

"It`s my greatest victory this season, that`s for sure," the 33-year-old Ramirez Hidalgo said. "I would not say this is the beginning of a new career, because I`m too old for this, but it`s a kind of relief."

Seventh-seeded David Ferrer had no such problems, advancing to the second round by defeating Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

No. 17 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, No. 30 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain and No. 31 Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine also advanced.

The French Open is the only one of the four Grand Slam tournaments to start on a Sunday, and there were 32 matches scheduled on eight courts.

Less than an hour before play began, two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt withdrew.

The Australian, who had been one of only five men in the draw with a Grand Slam singles title, has not played March because of foot surgery. He was replaced by Marc Gicquel, one of nine French men playing Sunday.

Gicquel lost to Albert Montanes of Spain 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. The four remaining Grand Slam champions in the men`s draw are five-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro.

Djokovic, Federer and Del Potro are all expected to play Monday, while Nadal is scheduled to play Tuesday.

PTI