Upsets start early with Gasquet's quick exit at Rome Masters

Updated: May 5, 2008, 2:45 PM ET
Associated Press

ROME -- The Rome Masters began with an upset Monday when ninth-seeded Richard Gasquet was beaten by Peruvian qualifier Luis Horna 6-4, 6-1 in the first match on center court.

[+] EnlargeRichard Gasquet
Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty ImagesRichard Gasquet is the only player in the top 10 in the world who hasn't reached a tournament quarterfinal this year. His season struggles continued Monday with a first-round loss in Rome.

The match was even until the 111th-ranked Horna broke Gasquet late in the first set. The top French player then unraveled, missing 15 forehands and committing 27 unforced errors overall.

"After losing the first set, I lost all my confidence," Gasquet said. "I played my worst match of the year."

The match lasted exactly an hour, and ended under light rain at the Foro Italico.

American Mardy Fish held off Michael Llodra 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (2) and will play Andy Roddick.

After a 90-minute rain delay, Guillermo Canas rallied past Italian wild card Gianluca Naso 6-7 (8), 6-3, 6-2 and will next face top-ranked Roger Federer.

Canas has won three of his five meetings with Federer, all on hard courts. They have never met on clay.

Federer leads a field featuring the top nine players in the rankings, including three-time defending champion Rafael Nadal.

Nadal is off to another perfect start to the clay-court season, winning back-to-back titles at the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open.

"Right now my confidence is very high," Nadal said. "But it's going to be very tough. It's my first time playing three weeks in a row on clay. Last year, there was a week between Barcelona and Rome."

The top eight seeded players have first-round byes in this tuneup for the French Open, which begins May 25.

In other matches, Steve Darcis beat Ivan Ljubicic 7-5, 7-6 (5) to set up a meeting with current No. 3 Novak Djokovic.

Igor Andreev defeated Hyung-Taik Lee 6-4, 7-5, and Radek Stepanek beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Also advancing were Potito Starace of Italy, Russian qualifier Evgeny Korolev and Nicolas Mahut of France.

Tennis scores

Need the scores from any match played in this or any other tournament? Results

Last year, Gasquet finished in the top 10 for the first time, won a career-high 49 matches and posted his best Grand Slam performance by reaching the Wimbledon semifinals. This year, he is the only player in the top 10 yet to reach a quarterfinal.

"I'm either way high or way low, and now I'm very low," Gasquet said, adding that he is not enjoying the sport right now.

"It's really difficult on the court. I need to win some matches and have fun."

Horna beat Max Mirnyi and Mischa Zverev in qualifying.

"I knew he was capable, just today anyone could have beaten me," Gasquet said.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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