Top-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland has opened his 2006 clay court season with a first round victory at the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament in Monaco.
The world's number-one player needed three sets Monday before dismissing Serbia and Montenegro teenager Novak Djokovic, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. The win improved Federer's record this season to 29-1.
Joining Federer in the second round is third-seeded David Nalbandian of Argentina. He had little trouble as he beat Belgium's Xavier Malisse, 6-4, 6-4. Number-seven Gaston Gaudio of Argentina eliminated Tim Henman of Britain, 6-1, 6-3, while ninth-seeded Nicolas Kiefer of Germany defeated Max Mirnyi of Belarus, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6.
Other seeds advancing were 10th-seeded Czech Radek Stepanek, number-11 Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero and his 15th-seeded countryman Tommy Robredo. But 14th-seeded Jarko Nieminen of Finland was upset in three sets (1-6, 6-4, 7-6) by Kristof Vliegen of Belgium.
Stepanek beat Evgeny Korolev of Russia, 6-2, 7-6, Ferrero scored an easy 6-1, 6-2 win over Russia's Demitry Tursunov and Robredo topped Luis Horna of Peru, 6-3, 6-4.
Other first-round winners Monday included Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic, Jose Acasuso of Argentina, Michael Llodra of France, Andreas Seppi and Alessio Di Mauro of Italy, Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina, Spaniard Alberto Martin, and Olivier Rochus of Belgium.Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.