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Ferrero, Moya advance at TMS Rome

ROME, May 6 (UPI) -- Juan Carlos Ferrero has not lost in the opening round in nine tournaments this year, including this week's $2.33 million Tennis Masters series, where he was a 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 winner Tuesday over Mark Philippoussis.

The 21-year-old Ferrero is off to a 30-6 start this season, and won for the 18th time in 19 claycourt matches. The victory came one day after Andre Agassi of the United States was ousted after reclaiming the No. 1 ranking.

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Agassi, who was 23-1 with four titles this season, lost to unseeded David Ferrer, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 on Monday.

Third seed Carlos Moya of Spain and fourth seed Roger Federer of Switzerland also won in straight sets on Tuesday.

But four lower seeds - No. 9 Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand, No. 13 Sebastien Grosjean of France, No. 14 Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil and No. 16 Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco - were eliminated.

Ferrero, a native of Spain, won a tournament in Valencia on Sunday and his lone claycourt loss this season was to Marat Safin in the semifinals at Barcelona.

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Moya also has excelled on clay and improved to 10-0 this year on the surface with a 6-2, 6-4 win over fellow Spaniard Fernando Vicente. Moya is coming off his title run in Barcelona late last month.

Federer, coming off his third ATP title of the year on Sunday in Munich, eliminated 21-year-old Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, 6-3, 7-5.

Jarkko Nieminen of Finland had no trouble with Srichaphan, 6-1, 6-1 and Tommy Robredo of Spain surprised Grosjean, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3.

Gaston Gaudio of Argentina needed three sets to get by Kuerten, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 while Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov eliminated El Aynaoui, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.

In other matches Tuesday, Alex Corretja defeated Albert Portas, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in a battle of Spanish players; Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina topped Olivier Rochus of Belgium, 6-1, 6-1 and Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina defeated Spain's David Sanchez, 6-4, 6-2.

Max Mirnyi of Bulgaria topped Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; Nikolay Davydenko of Russia defeated Karol Kucera of Slovakia, 2-6, 6-1, 7-5; Agustin Calleri of Argentina topped Austria's Stefan Koubek, 6-2, 6-2; Giorgio Galimberti of Italy eliminated American Brian Valahy, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 and Raemon Sluiter of The Netherlands was a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 winner over American Jan-Michael Gambill.

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Australian Leyton Hewitt withdrew from this event, indicating he needed more time to rest before the French Open later this month, but will regain the top spot after Agassi's stunning first-round elimination.

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