| Seventh seed Albert Costa made a winning start with a 6-4, 7-5 verdict over Croatian Zeljko Krajan at the Foro Italico Stadium Monday. (AFP)
Rome: Defending champion Andre Agassi tumbled out of the Rome Masters on Monday after suffering a shock 6-0, 6-7, 4-6 loss to Spainís David Ferrer.
Agassi, who replaced Lleyton Hewitt at the top of the world rankings last week, overwhelmed Ferrer with precision groundstrokes in a one-sided first set.
The Spaniard, however, refused to buckle and took the second set into a tie-break.
Ferrer earned a mini-break by forcing Agassi into a forehand error and then levelled the match with a beautiful lob over the American.
Ferrer broke Agassi in the third game of the decider but the 33-year-old forced his opponent into unforced errors to level the score at 2-2.
Both players failed to capitalise on break points in the sixth and seventh games of the set but in the ninth, Agassi gifted Ferrer the break with a double fault. World No. 60 Ferrer served out for the match to complete his unexpected victory.
Ferrerís opponent in the second round will be the Croatian Ivan Ljubicic, who beat Belgiumís Xavier Malisse 6-2, 6-4.
Seventh seed Albert Costa advanced with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Croat Zeljko Krajan.
Meanwhile, Britainís Tim Henman lost 2-6, 1-6 to Argentine claycourt specialist Guillermo Coria.
Henman, who beat Coria in their only previous meeting last year, has struggled to recapture his form after an operation for a shoulder injury and offered little resistance to the Argentine..
Coria broke Henmanís serve in the 15-minute opening game of the match, when the Briton snatched a midcourt forehand wide into the tramlines.
He broke again in the fifth game, taking advantage of a double fault and another wide forehand to go 4-1 ahead.
Henmanís unforced errors continued in the second set, with Coria passing his opponent at the net to break in the first game.
At 40-15 up in the fifth game, Henman looked to have belatedly found his rhythm, but after failing to put away a smash his opponent fought back to advantage, and the Argentine chased down a drop volley to flick the ball down the line for a winner to go 4-1 up.
In the seventh game, a wild Henman forehand gave Coria match point, and the Briton made it easy for his opponent, with a double fault.
Canas pulls out
Argentine Guillermo Canas has pulled out of the French Open with a right wrist injury, organisers said on Monday.
Canas, 25, reached the quarter finals at Roland Garros last year, beating 1998 winner Carlos Moya of Spain and Australiaís Lleyton Hewitt.
Canas, ranked 21st in the world, had surgery on the same wrist in August 2002.