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Corretja ousts Ferrero in Monaco

Corretja, left, beat Ferrero in 68 minutes.

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MONACO -- Juan Carlos Ferrero's bid for a third straight ATP Monte Carlo Masters title came to an abrupt end as the defending champion was beaten by Alex Corretja in the first round.

Corretja, a former world number two now ranked 100th, consistently out-rallied his Spanish rival for a 6-2 6-3 upset.

Serving for the match at 5-3, the 30-year-old finished off the French Open champion with an ace.

"I haven't had a good year at all but to come here and best Juan Carlos is great for me," said Corretja, who next faces Russian Nikolay Davydenko.

"However normally when you beat Juan-Carlos it means you are a long way into the tournament but this time it only means I have passed the first round. There is much work to be done."

To add insult to injury, Ferrero was fined $1000 for failing to complete his post-match commitments.

Second seed Ferrero had been the top-ranked player in the draw following top seed Andy Roddick's withdrawal and the absence of world number one Roger Federer.

His exit means that Argentine third seed Guillermo Coria inherits that mantle.

No. 10 Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand was another seeded casualty, losing 6-4 6-3 to Argentine clay-court specialist Juan Ignacio Chela.

Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt -- seeded 16th -- recovered from a sticky start to overcome Frenchman Julien Benneteau 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Tough on clay

"It's always tough to play your first match of the season on clay," said Hewitt who is looking for his third title of the year after wins in Sydney and Rotterdam.

Victory came after one hour 48 minutes and the Australian added: "I'm just happy to get through the first round because it takes time to adjust."

Marat Safin, a runner-up at Estoril last week, also went through when the Russian beat Belgium's Olivier Rochus 4-6 6-3 6-3.

His victory was a marathon affair taking two hours 15 minutes as he aims to improve on his best record here of reaching the quarterfinals in 2002. He next faces Belarussian Max Mirnyi.

Nicolas Escude made it to the next round with a 6-4 6-2 win over fellow Frenchman Gregory Carraz and now meets Argentina's Agustin Calleri.

And ninth seed Nicolas Massu of Chile dominated Brazil's Flavio Saretta 6-3 6-0.

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