SYDNEY, Jan. 8 (UPI) --
Fourth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis
was a straight-set winner Monday in the first round of the Medibank International tennis tournament in Sydney.
Baghdatis, from Cyprus, opened one of the last tune-ups for the Australian Open with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 victory over Latvian Ernest Gulbis. Baghdatis was the runner-up in last year's Australian Open to Roger Federer.
Two other seeded players opened Medibank play Monday with fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych stopping Australian Robert Smeets, 6-2, 7-5, and Spaniard Fernando Verdasco upsetting eighth-seeded Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean, 6-4, 6-4.
Also winning first-round matches were American Robby Ginepri, Russian Evgeny Korolev, Czech Jan Hernych and German Benjamin Becker.
Tuesday's first-round action sees top-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal, second-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko and defending champion American James Blake, who is seeded third, entering play.
The $436,000 Medibank International continues through Sunday. The champion takes home a check for $57,750.
© 2007 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.