Blake humbled by qualifier
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:26
The US number two lost his opening five games to Victor Crivoi and, despite hitting back to level, Blake slumped 7-5 6-3 to the Romanian qualifier.
Local favourites Potito Starace and Flavio Cipolla of Italy also bowed out of the tournament.
Starace lost 7-6 (10/8) 6-4 to Spaniard Alberto Montanes while Croatian Marin Cilic brushed aside Cipolla 6-2 6-2.
Montanes will meet defending Rome champion Novak Djokovic next.
Argentinian Juan Monaco booked a meeting with world number four Andy Murray after seeing off Nicolas Kiefer 6-3 6-4.
Ivo Karlovic needed three sets to overcome Jan Hernych 4-6 6-4 6-2 and he is likely to face a far more difficult challenge when he goes up against Roger Federer in the next round.
In other first-round action, 10th seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland dismissed Igor Kunitsyn 6-3 6-4 and Viktor Troicki from Serbia eased past Victor Hanescu.
The other first-round matches were postponed due to rain.
Murray, meanwhile, who received a first-round bye, played in the doubles on Monday but he and Davis Cup team-mate Ross Hutchins lost 6-4 6-4 to French duo Julien Benneteau and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.