Roger Federer picked up where he left off at the U.S. Open on Tuesday, starting his title defence with a ruthless first-round demolition of Czech Ivo Minar.
A year ago, Federer crushed Lleyton Hewitt in the final and the Swiss top seed's 61-minute, 6-1 6-1 6-1 victory over Minar on the same Arthur Ashe Court sent out an ominous warning to those who covet his U.S. crown. Women's second seed Lindsay Davenport, third seed Amelie Mauresmo and French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne also advanced to the second round without dropping a set.
However, the player Federer beat in last year's semi-finals, Briton Tim Henman, made a painful exit. Federer had played only one tournament since completing a hat-trick of Wimbledon titles in July but looked in peak form from the start against Minar, lashing forehand winners at will. Federer will play Frenchman Fabrice Santoro next.
World number one Davenport had to work hard for a 6-4 6-4 win over a determined Li Na of China in the first evening session match. Men's fourth seed Andy Roddick of the U.S. was due on court in the second evening match against Luxembourg's Gilles Muller. Together with Belgian Kim Clijsters, former world number one Mauresmo is the highest-ranked women's player still looking for a grand slam title and the Frenchwoman was too strong for Roberta Vinci, beating the Italian 6-3 6-2.
Seventh seed Henin-Hardenne ensured there was no repeat of her shock first round exit at Wimbledon in June with an impressive 6-3 6-0 win over Czech Zuzana Ondraskova. Russian sixth seed Elena Dementieva, the runner-up last year, recovered from a slow start to quell another Czech, Lucie Safarova, 7-5 6-3. Compatriot Anastasia Myskina, seeded 13, enjoyed a 6-3 6-1 win over Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn, Reuters reports.