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News & Photos / Articles / Ferrer and Tsonga cruise while Cilic crashes out

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Tsonga celebrates
The opening day of Roland Garros did not get off to the best of starts for former world no.1 Lleyton Hewitt. The Australian, who would have been making his 50th appearance in a major, was hoping to play his first competitive match since March following foot surgery. An ankle injury denied the two-time French Open quarter-finalist the chance to even make it onto Suzanne Lenglen court do battle with Albert Montanes this afternoon however, and he was replaced by lucky loser Marc Gicquel, who fell in straight sets to the Spaniard.

Elsewhere no.19 seed Marin Cilic suffered a shock defeat at the hands of world no.99 Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, who sent the Croat packing with a 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 scoreline. Compatriot David Ferrer also flew the flag for Spain, securing a straight-set first-round victory over Finland's Jarkko Nieminen for the loss of only seven games. In doing so, the 29-year-old maintained his record of always reaching at least the second round here in Paris. His finely-tuned performance has been helped by an impressive clay court run this year, with Ferrer wnning his 11th career singles title in Acapulco and reaching consecutive finals at Monte Carloand Barcelona, falling to Rafael Nadal on both occasions.

Meanwhile, nine of the 20 Frenchmen to start in this year's main draw were in action on Sunday. Home-grown crowd favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made light work of the Czech Republic's Jan Hajek with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win, firing off 33 winners along the way, and fellow Davis Cup regular Julien Benneteau came from behind to beat Portugal's Rui Machado. Maxime Teixeira was pushed the distance by fellow Frenchman Vincent Millet but eventually came through in a thrilling five-setter, but Adrian Mannarino was not so fortunate in his encounter with compatriot Guillaume Rufin. The Roland Garros dreams of David Guez, Augustin Gensse, Marc Gicquel also came crashing down at the first hurdle, while Andreas Seppi, Fabio Fognini and Kei Nishikori all moved safely into the second round.

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