New York:Former champion Lleyton Hewitt got his US Open campaign off to the perfect start with a comfortable 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 first-round win over Thiago Alves of Brazil on Monday.
It set the Australian up for another clash with old foe Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina with the almost-certain prize of another crack at Roger Federer in the third round going to the winner of that match.
Hewitt, who beat Pete Sampras in 2001 final en route to the world number one ranking, was never in any danger against the Brazilian, who is ranked a lowly 106th in the world and has yet to win a single ATP Tour title.
The end came in just 1 hour, 50 minutes with a fit-again Hewitt hitting 30 winners to 22 and committing 29 unforced errors to 40 for his opponent.
t was far from perfect, Hewitt said afterwards, but it would do for now as he tries to ease himself into a tournament that has always been one of his favorites.
"I would have liked to have served better (47 percent on first serve) although my second serve did hold up well. There was not a lot of pressure out there," he said.
Hewitt dropped out of the ATP top 100 in February of this year for the first time in over a decade as he battled a hip injury, but he reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and then played reasonably well in the buildup events to New York.
He lost a close one to top-tenner Juan Martin del Potro in Washington and then made it through to the last eight of the Cincinnati Masters before losing again to Federer.
The Swiss star will stand in his way again here if they both win their second-round matches, but Hewitt said he is not getting ahead of himself.
"Hopefully I will have another crack at him (Federer) but my main focus is Chela in the next round," he said.
"I haven't played him in a while but I know I will have to work hard because he will grind it out there for days.
"I have just got to play my own game and I will be OK."
Earlier, Australian women's number one and 15th seed Samantha Stosur made it an encouraging start for the Aussie contingent with a hard-earned 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over 34-year-old Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama.
The French Open semi-finalist started slowly in the first two sets, hitting back to win the first but dropping the second against an opponent who was playing in her 16th consecutive US Open draw.
The players exchanged breaks again early in the deciding set before Stosur finally edged home by breaking Sugiyama in the 10th game and on her third match point.
It was a welcome win for the Gold Coast player, whose improved play has seen her reach a career-best 15th in the world rankings, as she had failed to get past the first round in New York for the last four years.
But she admitted that she will have to improve her form if she wants to go deep into the tournament.
"I am very happy to go through and winning was the main thing," she said. "There were so many momentum changes and I got the last one.
"I will have to play better in the next round. I just don't know why this tournament has never been good to me."
Stosur will next play US youngster Vania King, who was 2-1 up in the opening set against Anastasiya Yakimova when the Belarussian retired.
There was defeat, however, for Aussie Jelena Dokic, who looked out of sorts in going down 6-3, 6-4 to Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.