Paris: Fourth seed Tomas Berdych showed no mercy to Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round of the French Open on Monday, defeating the teenager 6-0, 7-5, 6-3 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
The left-handed Nishioka, who retired ill in the first round of last year`s US Open in his only previous major appearance, did however recover from a disastrous start to put up a spirited fight against the Czech star.
Berdych required less than half an hour to win the opening set but Nishioka held his serve at the start of the second and even had a break point opportunity in the following game.
Berdych, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2010, recovered to hold his serve and eventually claimed the set after 47 minutes, Nishioka`s fighting performance ultimately proving to be in vain.
Nishioka did not give up though, saving three break points at the beginning of the third set and coming back to win the game with a delightful lob from the baseline with his opponent stranded at the net.
But Berdych`s class told in the end as he converted the first of two match points in the ninth game of the set.
"There are still a lot of places to improve which is good. It is always good to have the first one down and now I`ll just keep focusing on my next opponent," Berdych, who could face compatriot Radek Stepanek in the next round, said on-court at the end of the match.
Meanwhile, it was a chastening day on Court Two for Nishioka`s compatriot Tatsuma Ito, who was comfortably beaten in straight sets by the 28th seed Fabio Fognini.
Making his first appearance at Roland Garros since losing to Andy Murray three years ago, the 27-year-old Ito was wiped out 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in just one hour, 33 minutes by the Italian.
Fognini, who beat Rafael Nadal on the way to the final on clay in Rio de Janeiro this season, will now face either Portuguese qualifier Gastao Elias or Benoit Paire of France in the second round.
This is the first time in 42 years that as many as five Japanese players have featured in the main singles draw at a major, but only fifth seed Kei Nishikori has so far made it past the first round after he got the better of France`s Paul-Henri Mathieu in straight sets on Sunday.