French Open finalist Guillermo Coria will attempt to win his first match on grass this week at the Ordina Open, where he's the top seed but not the favorite.
Coria, the world No. 3 trying to gain some confidence for Wimbledon next week, faces Karol Beck of Slovakia in the first round, and the draw appears much harder after that. Arnaud Clement, the 2003 runner-up could wait in the quarterfinals, then two-time defending champion and home favorite Sjeng Schalken in the semifinals.
Coria lost at Roland Garros in a five-set thriller to fellow Argentine Gaston Gaudio this month. But he's not known as a grass-court player, and lost his opening match at Queen's last week to Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan.
Marat Safin pulled out of the ?375,750 (US$450,900) men's tournament, still complaining of a wrist injury he suffered at the French Open.
Women's world No. 4 Amelie Mauresmo also withdrew, clearing the way for Nadia Petrova to claim the top seed in the ?136,000 (US$170,000) women's field. Petrova was a semifinalist last year.
The only former women's champion in the field was fourth-seeded Eleni Daniilidou of Greece, who won in 2002.
In opening matches on Monday, Jan Vacek of the Czech Republic upset fifth-seeded Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 6-4, 6-4, and John van Lottum of the Netherlands eased past Thierry Ascione of France 6-2, 6-0.
Anne Kremer of Luxembourg took the first women's match from Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 6-1, 6-3.
Vamos El Mago.
Top seeded on grass.......
That's a very tough first round match.