MONTE CARLO (AFP) Croatian fourth seed Marin Cilic passed a stern clay test against Russian Igor Andreev, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-4, on Tuesday to kick-start his season on the surface with a second-round victory. While admitting that it always takes him a week or more to get into his rhythm on the surface, the two-time ATP champion this season was pleased to take the win on a sunny day on the Court Central in just under three hours. It was my first match on the clay this season and Igor has some matches already, said Cilic, who took his record in the series to 4-1. He really pushed me, it was a good opening match. Cilic faced 18 break points, saving 14 in the struggle with the Russian whose clay highlight in February was a semi-final in Brazil. The big-hitting Croatian was held to a modest five aces and broke Andreev on 11 of his 19 chances. French players went two-for-three on the day in the first round, as injured and hurting Paul-Henri Mathieu suffered the days home loss at the storied Mediterranean venue. The Frenchman who has been bothered by knee pain for five months, went down to Austrian 15th seed Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2. There were wins for Michael Llodra, who put out Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3 and Florent Serra, a winner over Gallic compatriot Stephane Robert 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-4. Mathieu said: My knee is hurting and also my abductors. I feel that pain. As long as it doesnt go away, its going to be very difficult for me. I need a lot of energy to overcome the pain and also to overcome the fear, said the number 48. Top-eight seeds benefit from first-round byes, with number one seed Novak Djokovic and five-time champion Rafael Nadal waiting to start on Wednesday. Djokovic, losing finalist a year ago to the mighty Spaniard, will start his week against Serra while Nadal plays Dutch hope Thiemo de Bakker, a winner over Argentine Eduardo Schwank - fined for not trying during a match last week - 6-3, 7-5.