Chennai:World number two Rafael Nadal kicked off his campaign with a facile straight-set win even though second seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and eighth seeded Frenchman Marc Gicquel were shown the door in the Chennai Open ATP Tennis Championship on Tuesday.
Title favourite Nadal taught Mathieu Montcourt of France a few tennis lessons on his way to a 6-2 6-4 win in front of a Centre Court crowd that rooted for the Spaniard.
Though Montcourt showed athleticism and cool temperament and tried hard to put some pressure on Nadal, the gulf in their rankings was evident as Nadal hardly broke a sweat to tame the Frenchman.
After dropping just two games in the first set, Nadal was leading 5-2 in the second but Montcourt managed to delay the inevitable.
After breaking Nadal in the eighth game, Montcourt held his own (4-5) but the Spaniard brought his experience into play to assert his class winning the set on two match points, while the French's selection of wrong balls for finish did not help him.
Earlier, the tournament saw an early upset with Baghdatis biting dust against unheralded Dutchman Robin Haase, who tamed his illustrious opponent 6-3, 6-4 for a sweet revenge for his earlier loss last August in the AMS Canada International series.
In another match, Belgian unseed Kristof Vliegen put paid to the aspirations of eighth seeded Marc Gicquel (France) 7-6 (5) 6-4 for the second upset of the day.
Qualifier Lovro Zovko of Croatia played quality tennis to oust Thierry Ascione of France 6-4, 6-0 and advance to the second round.
In an outside court match, Werner Eschauer of Austria defeated Bartolome Salva-Viddal of Spain 7-6 (3) 5-7, 6-4.
In another match, Spaniard Guillermo-Garcia-Lopaz ousted qualifer Alexandre Peya of Austria 6-4 6-4.