David Ferrer, the no.4 seed here in Melbourne, advanced to the second round after dismissing Belgian Olivier Rochus in straight sets 6-3 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 50 minutes.
The Spaniard seems to be on form at the start of the season, having won the Auckland tournament last week. Ferrer will face American lucky loser Tim Smyczek, who defeated big serving Croat Ivo Karlovic, prevailing 6-4 7-6 (5) 7-5.
5th seeded Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic made fairly light work of his American opponent Michael Russell, beating him 6-3 7-5 6-3.
Despite Berdych’s serve not working 100% well, he could rely on his ground strokes and the unforced errors of his opponent, 42 in total.
The Czech player reached the last 8 here in 2012 for the second time in his career, but never managed to get past the quarter-final round.
Next up for Berdych will be Frenchman Guillaume Rufin, who overcame German qualifier Julian Reister 4-6 7-6 (4) 6-1 6-2.