Safin wins first-round match at Monte Carlo

Tuesday, April 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AP) _ Marat Safin ended his losing streak at the Monte Carlo Masters by beating Spain's Tommy Robredo 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 Tuesday in their first-round match.

The sixth-seeded Russian hadn't won a match in his three previous appearances at the first major clay-court tournament of the season.

Safin, 22, ranks second in the ATP Champions Race thanks to his showing in the final of this year's Australian Open. He hasn't won a title since last October.

Second-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero advanced with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Spanish countryman Albert Portas. Ferrero is seeking to make up for a disappointing start to the season that has seen him reach only one quarterfinal. He won last year's Italian Open, another big clay event, and was a finalist in the 2001 German Open.

Also Tuesday, Dominik Hrbaty eliminated Andreas Vinciguerra 6-4, 6-4.

Top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt was to make his Monte Carlo debut later Tuesday against former French Open champion Carlos Moya, who is also a former titlist here. Andy Roddick was also to play his first ever match in the tournament, against Chilean qualifier Fernando Gonzalez.