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Cilic takes a tumble

india Updated: May 23, 2011 02:29 IST

Agencies
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Marin Cilic became the first seeded player to be eliminated from the French Open, losing to Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 Sunday in the first round.

The 19th-seeded Cilic, who reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, is a former top-10 player. But he had 67 unforced errors in the match and was broken five times.

For Ramirez Hidalgo, it was only his fourth win in 15 Grand Slam tournaments. Besides reaching the fourth round at the 2006 French Open, the Spaniard lost in the first round in each of his other 13 appearances at the four biggest tournaments on the tennis circuit.

Seventh-seeded David Ferrer had no such problems, advancing to the second round by defeating Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

The French Open is the only one of the four Grand Slam tournaments to start on a Sunday, and there were 32 matches scheduled on eight courts.

Windy start
Gusty winds and half-empty stands gave no sense of the usual Parisian glamour as last year's French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur began with an easy win on Sunday. Stosur shook off the effects of a virus to beat Czech Iveta Benesova 6-2 6-3.

The crowd grew bigger on court Philippe Chatrier when local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sparked off his campaign but the fireworks did not last long as the 17th seed spent less than two hours to dismiss Czech Jan Hajek 6-3 6-2 6-2.

Serbian Jelena Jankovic, a three-times semi-finalist in Paris, was also untroubled as she breezed past Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko 6-3 6-1.

Hewitt pulls out
This year's French Open has been hit hard by injuries and Lleyton Hewitt, the Australian former world number one, added to the list of absentees when he pulled out because of a left ankle problem.

Showing support
French women players wore a black ribbon in memory of Virginie Razzano's coach and fiance Stephane Vidal, who died of a brain tumour earlier this month.