French pair suffer early Cincinnati exit

Cincinnati: France`s Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon suffered early exits from the Cincinnati Masters.

American James Blake, a former world number four, crashed out of the tournament in just 45 minutes but his compatriot Mardy Fish battled into the second round.

Fish produced a spirited display to defeat Simon 7-6, 7-5 and set up a match with Spanish eighth-seed Fernando Verdasco.

Monfils, the 16th seed, fell to Colombian qualifier Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-4 while Blake`s slide down the rankings continued with a 6-3, 6-0 loss to Uzbekistan`s Denis Istomin.

The good news for France came with Richard Gasquet defeating 12th seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych, the Wimbledon runner-up, began his campaign against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in straightforward fashion with a 6-4 6-4 win in his second round match.

The top seeds, including world number one Rafael Nadal, begin their second-round matches on Wednesday.

Nadal will face American Taylor Dent while Roger Federer takes on Istomin and Britain`s Andy Murray faces Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Bureau Report

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