Top three seeds Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray moved into the third round of the Cincinnati Open with relatively comfortable straight set victories today.
World number two Djokovic beat Italian Andreas Seppi 7-6 6-2 while Olympic gold medallist Murray strolled past American Sam Querrey 6-2 6-4. Federer crushed Russian-American journeyman Alex Bogomolov Jr 6-3 6-2.
Serb Djokovic, who won the ATP Masters tournament at Toronto last week, knew he was in for a tough test from Seppi after needing to come back from two sets down to win in five when they met in the French Open.
It was a tight affair in the first set, won on a tie-break by Djokovic, and then the five-times grand slam singles champion comfortably secured the second.
"I wasn't satisfied with my performance, I will have to play much better than this in order to go far," said the 25-year-old Djokovic.
"There were a lot of unforced errors from both of us. It wasn't a really pretty match."
Murray pulled out of Toronto last week due to concerns over his knee but he looked in good shape as he dominated Querrey.
Murray's serve was too much for his opponent and his defence was strong enough to break serve on three straight service games in the first set to gain control.
Murray said Querrey's recent run of good form had made him raise his game.
"He's had some good wins, so I was expecting a tough match. I think that helped me," said the Scotsman.
"I was very sharp right at the beginning of the match. I needed to be, and it was a good start to the tournament," he said.
The main positive for Murray was that he had no discomfort with his knee.
"It felt fine. I moved well today. It was still giving me a little bit of trouble in practice for a couple of days before the tournament, but it felt much, much better on the court today. I moved well, so I'm hoping it won't be a problem," he said.
Federer dealt with Bogomolov Jr in an hour of one-sided tennis.
"It was very fast out there and so there wasn't much chance for rallies and that can be frustrating when you are on the losing side but he put up a good fight," Federer said charitably.
American James Blake made an early exit after 22-year-old Japanese Kei Nishikori recovered from a poor first set to win 2-6 6-4 6-4.
Mardy Fish is the sole American man left in the competition. He beat Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-3 6-1.
German Tommy Haas and Australian Lleyton Hewitt have both hinted at mini-revivals in form but their bids here ended in the second round.
Haas battled hard in the first against sixth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro but ended up losing 7-5 6-2 and Hewitt was badly out of sorts as he was crushed 6-2 6-0 by Serb Viktor Troicki.
Venus fights back
Venus Williams fought back from a set down to beat South Africa's Chanelle Scheepers 2-6 6-3 6-2 as the top seeds advanced with little trouble at the Cincinnati Open.
Williams will now meet Italian Sara Errani for a quarter-final berth following the seventh seed's 6-4 6-4 win over Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova.
For the second successive day Williams needed three sets but she was glad with the way she recovered from a rusty opening
"I made so many errors. She's one of those players that puts a lot of balls in the court, makes you play a lot of shots and I wasn't getting them in the court. It was good to turn it around," said Williams.
Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson 6-4 6-3 to book her place in the third round.
Pole Radwanska, playing in her first premier event as a top seed, said she was pleased with how she had settled in to the event.
"The first match is always the most difficult. Every week we play on different surfaces with different balls and in different conditions. I'm just happy I went through, especially in two sets, because of the heat," she said.
Radwanska will next face Sloane Stephens after the American beat fellow wildcard entrant Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-2 6-1 in an hour.
Her sister Urszula Radwanska, now ranked 46th in the world, progressed to the third round after Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova retired due to "heat illness".
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki needed just 59 minutes to dismiss Kazakh Sesil Karatantcheva 6-1 6-0 in a totally one-sided affair.
In the third round Wozniacki will face Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who swept aside Germany's Julia Goerges 6-3 6-0