Monte Carlo, April 18:

Former champion Guillermo Coria of Argentina beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-3, 6-1 in a first-round match at the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.

Coria, the 2004 champion and runner-up to Rafael Nadal last year, next faces Paul-Henri Mathieu of France, who beat two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin of Russia 6-0, 7-5.

Coria beat Youzhny for the third time on clay to improve to 6-2 overall against the Russian.

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, seeded 16th, also advanced to the second round, beating Fabrice Santoro of France 6-2, 6-4.

Big-serving Robin Soderling of Sweden upset Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Davydenko was a French Open semi-finalist on clay last year. On center court, former U.S. Open and Australian Open champion Safin waited until the 12th game of the match to win his first service game, punching the air in mock celebration.

Safin trailed 2-0 and 3-1 in the second set, but twice broke Mathieu to pull level at 3-3. They then both held, forcing Safin to serve to stay in the match at 6-5 down.

Safin offered a match point with a backhand into the net, and lost on the next point when his attempted pass down the line bounced out. Safin’s performance was riddled with unforced errors and wild forehands that sailed long.