Melbourne, Australia – Second-seeded four-time champion Roger Federer and third-seeded two-time runner-up Andy Murray earned straight-set victories Tuesday in opening-round action at the Australian Open.
The 17-time Grand Slam king and former world No. 1 Federer opened his 2013 season by making quick work of Benoit Paire, handling the Frenchman 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in 1 hour, 23 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.
Federer is the reigning Wimbledon champion and has reached five Aussie Open finals, going 4-1 in those matches. The super Swiss will face former top-five Russian star Nikolay Davydenko in the round of 64 on Thursday.
The reigning U.S. Open and Olympic titlist Murray moved past Dutchman Robin Haase with a decisive 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 victory. The British star reached back-to- back Melbourne finals in 2010 and 2011.
Murray, whose second-round opponent will be Portuguese Joao Sousa, was playing his first Grand Slam match as a major champion.
"It didn't feel much different to me," he said. "I was still nervous before I went on to play the match.
"The benefits of that is if I get myself deep into a Slam this year and you're playing against the top players -- that's when you'll draw on that experience and use it in the right way."
Meanwhile, sixth-seeded former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro committed just eight unforced errors in breezing past France's Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, seventh-seeded former Aussie runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga cruised past fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-4, 7-5, 6-2, and No. 9 seed Richard Gasquet of France eased past Spaniard Albert Montanes 7-5, 6-2, 6-1. Tsonga is now 6-0 lifetime against the left-handed Llodra.
Up next for del Potro will be German Benjamin Becker, while Tsonga will take on Japanese Go Soeda and Gasquet will encounter Colombian Alejandro Falla.
No. 12 Croat Marin Cilic defeated Aussie Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 7-5, 6-2; 13th-seeded Canadian slugger Milos Raonic overcame Czech Jan Hajek 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (7-0); No. 14 Giles Simon of France fought back to best Italian Filippo Volandri 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; and Philipp Kohlschreiber, the 17th seed, posted a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 decision over Steve Darcis to move on. The German Kohlschreiber was a finalist in Auckland last week.
Mild top-20 upsets came when acrobatic Frenchman Gael Monfils took out 18th- seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-3 and Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen outlasted 19th-seeded oft-injured German Tommy Haas 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, 8-6.
Other seeded winners were No. 21 Andreas Seppi, No. 25 Florian Mayer and No. 30 Marcel Granollers, while some other seeded losers were No. 27 Martin Klizan and No. 29 Thomaz Bellucci. The Slovakian Klizan gave way to German Daniel Brands 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, while the Brazilian Bellucci succumbed to Slovenian Blaz Kavcic 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.
Several other men reached the second round, including the aforementioned Davydenko, American Rajeev Ram, hot Aussie Bernard Tomic, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, and Canada's Jesse Levine, who doused former top-five Spaniard Tommy Robredo 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-4. Davydenko fought back to top Israeli Dudi Sela 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-3, while Tomic, fresh off his first career ATP title last week in Sydney, leveled Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 on Day 2 at Melbourne Park.
The second round will commence Wednesday with 16 men's matches, including ones for top-seeded two-time defending and three-time overall Aussie champ Novak Djokovic and fourth seed David Ferrer. Djokovic will face American Ryan Harrison, while Ferrer, fresh off his Auckland title, will battle American Tim Smyczek.
Djokovic outlasted Rafael Nadal in the longest-ever Grand Slam final here a year ago.
Also on the Day-3 schedule will be fifth-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych, eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic, rising 16th-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori, 20th-seeded American Sam Querrey, and 28th-seeded former Aussie runner-up Marcos Baghdatis. Querrey will tangle with fellow American Brian Baker.