Paris: French Open title hopefuls Novak Djokovic and Francesca Schiavone made powerful starts to their campaigns with crushing wins in the sunshine at Roland Garros on Monday.
Second seed Djokovic extended his winning streak this year to 38 matches with a 6-2 6-1 6-3 thrashing of Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker and defending champion Schiavone raced past American Melanie Oudin 6-2 6-0.
World number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who has yet to win a grand slam title, was also in a rush as she beat 40-year-old Japanese Kimiko Date Krumm 6-0 6-2.
Date Krumm, who made her French Open debut in 1989 when Wozniacki was not even born, caused a stir when she knocked out former world number one Dinara Safina last year but she never threatened another upset.
Djokovic’s path ahead became less challenging when possible quarter-final opponent Tomas Berdych became the first big casualty in the men’s singles.
The Czech sixth seed, a semi-finalist last year, slumped to a shock 3-6 3-6 6-2 6-2 9-7 defeat by French qualifier Stephane Robert.
Berdych appeared to be in control before the world number 140 began to sprinkle Court Two with forehand winners.
“That’s tennis. That’s what can happen in the long matches. Sadly it happened to me today,” said Berdych, who wasted a match point.
Third seed Roger Federer was given a decent workout before seeing off Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-4 7-6.
“I thought I played a good match, even though it was a tough match. He had a couple of small chances but could not convert those,” the Swiss said.
Djokovic made light work of the talented De Bakker, peppering the court with forehand winners and mixing his game with cunning drop shots.
The Serbian, who has beaten five-times French Open champion Rafael Nadal twice on clay this season, faces a possible third-round encounter with 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.
The Argentine, who has been recovering from a torn hip muscle, recovered from a shaky start to beat Croatian Ivo Karlovic 6-7 6-3 7-5 6-4.
Schiavone was as convincing as Djokovic.
Following a low-key start to the tournament with none of the top six seeds in action on Sunday, the fifth seed was first on court and she wasted no time.
The Italian needed just over an hour to dispatch world number 88 Oudin, quickly finding her groove after conceding an early break.
Fans were still queueing outside Roland Garros and the Philippe Chatrier stands were far from full when Schiavone waved goodbye to the crowd with a big smile on her face.
“I’m still shaking a little bit. A lot of adrenaline. I felt really happy to be there,” the 30-year-old said.
It was a good day for the local favourites as 13th seed Richard Gasquet beat Czech Radek Stepanek 7-5 6-3 6-0 and ninth seed Gael Monfils recovered from a slow start to defeat German Bjorn Phau 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-0.
On Tuesday, holder Nadal will be up against big-serving American John Isner on court Philippe Chatrier, which will also be graced with the presence of Russian former world number one Maria Sharapova.
Briton Andy Murray, seeded fourth, can expect a stroll on court Suzanne Lenglen against France’s Eric Prodon and last year’s runner-up Robin Soderling of Sweden plays German Benjamin Becker.