The 2008 Rotterdam Open champion Michael Llodra of France cantered through his first round match here on Monday handing Russia's former top 10 player Nikolay Davydenko his second successive first round exit.
Llodra, who won the title at the Ahoy stadium in 2008 over Swede Robin Soderling - the two-time Roland Garros finalist and top seed at this edition - beat Davydenko 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
The 34th-ranked Russian, who had beaten Llodra four times in their prior six meetings, went out in the first round of the Australian Open after losing in the Qatar final to Roger Federer after beating Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.
Davydenko, who won his last title more than a year ago in Doha, came from a break down in the opening set but was never in the contest with 22-ranked Llodra, who fired a dozen aces in just over 90 minutes.
The Frenchman will play either Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan or Russian qualifier Dmitry Tursunov in the second round.
Croatian Marin Cilic, another former top ranked player whose game has fallen into a bit of a rut and sees him ranked 28th in the world, began his campaign with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-4 defeat of German Mischa Zverev.
The 22-year-old Croat reached his last semi-final in August, 2010, in Washington. He also failed to defend the early-season titles he won in both 2009 and 2010 in Chennai, India and the Croatian stop in Zagreb.
"It's my first time here and I played extremely well," said a satisfied Cilic. "I'm happy with my game and with my serve especially. It's coming along well.
"I'm pleased with that, it gave me more confidence. I also played relaxed in my return game. I didn't face any break points either.
"I lost to Nadal in Melbourne (fourth round) so it's important to bounce back," said Cilic, who lost last week in the Zagreb quarter-finals.
"I'm looking forward to this part of the year.
"I'm trying to get my good form back, I hope it comes soon. I feel I'm playing well, I just want to get some wins."
The Rotterdam event features Soderling defending his title with two-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray expected to challenge.
The Scot decided last week to take his place in the field after hinting that he might take time away from the game after his heavy loss eight days ago to Novak Djokovic in the Melbourne final.
The Serb winner withdrew from the Dutch event, citing existing injuries, particularly the shoulder which appeared to bother him in the win over Murray.
Soderling begins his campaign against Dutchman Robin Haase while Murray plays Marcos Baghdatis.