Sydney, Australia – Czech Davis Cup hero Radek Stepanek was an easy first-round winner, while Jeremy Chardy was an upset victim Tuesday at the Sydney International tennis event, a final Australian Open tune-up.
The sixth-seeded Stepanek overcame three double faults by converting on all four of his break chances against Spanish qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez to earn a 6-2, 6-3 decision at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.
Stepanek won the fifth and deciding rubber against Spain in the 2012 Davis Cup final in Prague.
Feliciano Lopez of Spain, meanwhile, hammered 22 aces against France's Chardy, the tournament's seventh seed, during a 6-7 (2-7), 7-5, 6-3 victory in just over two hours.
Reigning Sydney champion and 2009 runner-up Jarkko Nieminen of Finland advanced by defeating German qualifier Bjorn Phau 6-0, 6-1.
Other first-round matches saw wild card John Millman of Australia ease past Spain's Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-4, Italian Fabio Fognini top Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-1, and Bernard Tomic of Australia defeat compatriot Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-4. Dimitrov reached his first-ever ATP final in Brisbane last week.
South Africa's Kevin Anderson advanced to the second round by outlasting Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and American Ryan Harrison moved on when Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut retired in the first set while trailing 2-1 with lower abdominal pain. Bautista Agut reached his first career ATP final in Chennai last week.
In some second-round action on Wednesday, top-seeded American John Isner will meet his qualifier compatriot Harrison and second-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon will battle the veteran Nieminen. Simon titled here two years ago.