Key Biscayne, FL – Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt was a first-round winner Wednesday, as the men's portion of the lucrative Sony Open got underway on Wednesday.
Former world No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko and American veteran James Blake also prevailed in their opening bouts to highlight the first day's action of this $4.169 million Masters 1000 event.
The two-time Grand Slam champion Hewitt got past Portuguese Joao Sousa 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) on the hardcourts at Crandon Park. Davydenko was taken to three sets by Italian Paolo Lorenzi before breezing in the final one to earn a 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 decision.
Blake had little trouble disposing of countryman Ryan Harrison, cruising to a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over the Louisiana native.
Meanwhile, quality Frenchman Michael Llodra handled compatriot Benoit Paire 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, capable Belgian Xavier Malisse edged out American Rajeev Ram 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, and Austrian veteran Jurgen Melzer overcame Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) on Day 1.
Additional wins came for Czech Lukas Rosol, Indian Somdev Devvarman, Romanian Victor Hanescu, German Tobias Kamke, Dutchman Igor Sijsling, Slovenian Grega Zemlja, Spaniard Albert Ramos, Argentine Horacio Zellabos, Russian Dmitry Tursunov and Israeli Dudi Sela.
Kamke's second-round opponent will be last week's Indian Wells runner-up and former U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro.
This week's top seed and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic beat 2009 titlist Andy Murray in last year's finale in Miami. The Australian Open champion Djokovic and U.S. Open titlist Murray are the top seeds at this 12- day tournament.
Two-time champion Roger Federer and last week's Indian Wells titlist Rafael Nadal decided against playing here.
The winner of this prestigious tournament will claim $719,160.