New York: Novak Djokovic wasted no time in seeing off Argentinian challenger Diego Schwartzman on Monday to reach the second round with varying degrees of difficulty.
World number one and top seed Djokovic defeated 79th-ranked Schwartzman 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, wrapping up the marquee match on Arthur Ashe Stadium court minutes before midnight.
"I hope it was a midnight delight," the reigning Wimbledon champion told fans, although in truth the contest offered little drama.
Schwartzman, playing just his second Grand Slam tournament and his first tour-level hardcourt event, pulled the Serbian star into rallies from the baseline, even breaking him for his only game of the opening set.
Trailing 2-3 in the third, Schwartzman broke Djokovic to knot the set at 3-3, but Djokovic, seeking to add a second US Open title to the one he captured in 2011, promptly broke him at love for a 4-3 lead and sealed the victory on his second match point with a shot that clipped the net and fell his way.
"I thought I hit the ball very well throughout the whole match," Djokovic said. "I`m very pleased. It`s never easy to start a US Open smoothly."
That was the common refrain on the opening day, as former champions Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams also advanced, taking center stage with two-time defending champion Serena Williams and five-time champion Roger Federer due to launch their campaigns on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Agnieszka Radwanska showed no sign of big-tournament nerves, but the fourth-seeded Pole said she felt them nonetheless in a 6-1, 6-0 drubbing of Canadian Sharon Fichman.
"First match is always tricky," Radwanska said.