The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Yevgeny breaks 1st-round jinx

Monte Carlo: Yevgeny Kafelnikov overcame his Monte Carlo Masters first round jinx when he beat 11th seed Younes El Aynaoui 6-2, 6-7, 6-1 on Tuesday.

The Russian, who has suffered a dip in form in recent months, dismissed the in-form Moroccan to reach the second round in the principality for the first time in three years.

El Aynaoui quarter finalist in January, reached the final in Casablanca for the second year in succession last weekend.

Despite the strong winds which ruined the rhythm of many players, it was a good day for Roland Garros winners.

French Open champion Albert Costa demolished Russian hopeful Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 6-2 and said he felt no pressure to repeat last seasonís success.

The first round clash had looked tricky on paper as Davydenko triumphed in Estoril on Sunday. But Costa cut celebrations short by handing him a brutal lesson in claycourt tennis.

A surprise Roland Garros winner at the expense of compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero last year, Costa wants to build on that feat.

Costa, top-seeded defending champion Ferrero and second seed Carlos Moya lead an impressive Spanish challenge at the tournament this year.

Moya, French Open winner in 1998, overcame blustery conditions to defeat Belgian Xavier Malisse 6-3, 6-3.

It was business as usual for the Mallorca player, who has never lost in the first round in his seven previous appearances in the tournament he won in 1998.

The top three surviving seeds in the tournament are Spaniards after third seed American Andy Roddick lost in the first round on Monday to another Spanish player, Albert Portas.

There was no hint of a problem for Moya against Malisse, a surprise Wimbledon semi-finalist last year. With his powerful groundstrokes and far superior consistency from the baseline, Moya only showed glimpses of weakness when Malisse saved two match points. But the Spaniard quickly recovered to win in 72 minutes.

El Aynaoui was the only seed to crash out of the tournament on Tuesday but Thailandís Paradorn Srichapan, seeded seventh, came close, saving a match point before beating qualifier Peter Luczak 7-5, 3-6, 7-6.

Teenage sensation Rafael Nadal showed his more experienced Spanish compatriots that the new generation was ready to make a mark on the tour. The 16-year-old qualifier demolished Slovak Karol Kucera 6-1, 6-2.

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