ATP Rome Masters: Philipp Kohlschreiber beats 14th seed Milos Raonic in first round
Philipp Kohlschreiber ousted 14th seed Milos Raonic at the Rome Masters with a straight sets victory over the Canadian.
Last Updated: 14/05/13 11:20pm
Having been knocked out in the second round in Madrid last week, Raonic suffered an even earlier exit this time around as the German emerged triumphant 7-6 (7/2) 6-4 in 78 minutes.
There were no breaks of serve in a tight first set but, having struggled to make much impact on the Raonic delivery, Kohlschreiber claimed two mini-breaks at the start of the tie-break to quickly move into a 3-0 lead.
The Canadian was unable to recover from there and Kohlschreiber went on to take the first of four set-points to move ahead.
The second followed a similar pattern with no breaks in the early stages, but that changed in the seventh game when Kohlschreiber made what would prove a decisive move, breaking to go 4-3 ahead with a pinpoint forehand winner down the line that wrong-footed his opponent.
The German then held his nerve, serving out twice to confirm victory and a second-round clash with Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos who beat Czech qualifier Jan Hajek 7-5 6-0.
Croatia's 11th seed Marin Cilic was another straight sets winner as he overcame Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev 6-4 6-2, while 2010 semi-final Ernests Gulbis beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-2 7-6 (8/6) - extending his career record against the Finn to 5-0.
Fabio Fognini was an easy winner of the all-Italian contest with Andreas Seppi, coming through a largely one-sided encounter 6-4 6-1, while there was more to cheer for home fans as Potito Starace came from a set down to beat Radek Stepanek 4-6 6-4 6-3.
France's Benoit Paire defeated Argentina's clay-court specialist Juan Monaco 7-6 (7/4) 1-6 6-4 and there were also victories for Albert Montanes, Jerzy Janowicz and Andrey Kuznetsov - the latter advancing after opponent Xavier Malisse was forced to retire when a set and a break down.
In the final match of the evening, 16th seed Kei Nishikori won in two sets on his debut in the event, beating another home player, Paolo Lorenzi, 6-2 6-4 in a little under 90 minutes.