Rome, Italy (Sports Network) - World No. 13 Marin Cilic was an easy
opening-round winner Monday at the Italian Masters tennis event, a clay-court
French Open tune-up.
The 11th-seeded Croatian slugger handled Kazakhstani qualifier Andrey Golubev
6-4, 6-2 at beautiful Foro Italico.
Talented Latvian Ernests Gulbis advanced by beating veteran Finnish left-
hander Jarkko Nieminen, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6).
Also on Day 2,
Italian Potito Starace overcame Czech Radek Stepanek 4-6, 6-4, 6-3;
Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov topped Belgian Xavier Malisse 6-2, 3-1,
retired; France's Benoit Paire outlasted Argentine Juan Monaco 7-6 (7-4), 1-6,
6-4; and Spaniard Albert Ramos dismissed Czech qualifier Jan Hajek 7-5, 6-0.
The wild card Starace is rewarded with a second-round match against the great
Six-time champion Rafael Nadal beat 2011 titlist and two-time winner Novak
Djokovic in last year's marquee Rome finale.
The "Big Four" of Djokovic, Federer, Andy Murray, and Nadal are all on
hand this week. The clay-court king Nadal was last week's Masters champion in
The 2013 Rome winner will take home $660,000.
The Sports Network