PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain, April 29 (UPI) -- Oliver Rochus handed third seed Sjeng Schalken his third straight loss Monday in the opening round of the $400,000 Mallorca Open claycourt tennis event.
The diminutive Belgian posted a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 victory over his Dutch foe to even their head-to-head series at 1-1. Schalken won their only previous meeting easily in Amsterdam last year, but on Monday endured his seventh loss in his last nine matches.
Fifth seed Agustin Calleri of Argentina had little trouble advancing to the second round, trouncing Austrian Markus Hipfl, 6-0, 6-2. Calleri improved to 2-0 lifetime against Hipfl while recording only his second match victory in his last six outings.
A pair of Spaniards reached the second round as Galo Blanco dispatched Hyung-Taik Lee of Korea, 6-3, 6-3, and Juan Balcells defeated Anthony Dupuis of France, 7-5, 6-4.
In addition, France's Cedric Pioline got by Argentina's Jose Acasuso, 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4; Spanish wild card Rafael Nadal-Parera ousted Ramon Delgado of Paraguay, 6-4, 6-4; and Jean-Francois of France defeated Mario Radic of Croatia, 6-4, 6-2, in a battle of qualifiers.
World No. 2 and reigning French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten will return to action this week. Kuerten, the top seed, has been sidelined since undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery in February. He has lost his only two matches of the year and dropped 11 of the past 12 since reaching the quarterfinals of
the U.S. Open last September.