The top seeds had it easy in their openers Tuesday in Rome. The newly coiffed Roger Federer rolled to victory crushing Italian veteran 6-1, 6-2. Rome, though, is among the few tournaments Federer has never won, but the Swiss is hoping this good start changes his fortune this year.
“It was a great first round, particularly against a local hero here,” said Federer. “I came out and was able to play my game and dictate at almost every point. That was a nice feeling to have. It was a very clean match, it was good from start to finish. I felt good, I moved well. Overall a great performance. I hope I can keep it up.”
Two-time champion Djokovic looked good dropping just five total games against Spanish veteran Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-3. Djokovic, who lost in the final last year to Rafael Nadal, admitted he hasn’t had much practice this clay season.
“It was a good performance for a start, even though I know I can do better,” said Djokovic. “I know my game has to be better in order to win my next challenge. But I’m heading in a good way because I didn’t have a great week in Madrid and didn’t have much practice.
“I came here very early. From Wednesday I spent a lot of hours on the court working hard, trying to prepare myself for what’s coming up this week and also after the tournament in Rome, two Grand Slams in less than a month time. It’s a very important period for all of us and I need to be physically, mentally, fresh and fit and I think I’m on the right way to be like that.”
The other three Top 10 seeds in action today also won in straight sets, that includes Juan Martin Del Potro, Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet who dumped Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4.
In first round play, Stanislas Wawrinka stayed hot winning in three over Carlos Berlocq. Tommy Haas, though, was upset by Mikhail Youzhny as was clay specialist Nicolas Almagro who was stunned by Juliean Benneteau.
In the women’s field, Serena Williams won her 20th straight match pounding on Laura Robson 6-2, 6-2. The win avenged Venus’s loss to Robson a day earlier.
“It went well,” Williams said. “It was a good match – she played really well and really smart. She’s just a great player and I think she has such a big future, and I really like her as a person, too.
“I’ve played lots of matches, but I’m the kind of player who likes to keep playing matches, at least now in my career,” Williams said of her current streak. “I just want to keep the confidence there.”
Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Maria Kirilenko were winners while the upset bug against hit hard with losses by Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska and Ana Ivanovic. The former No. 1 Wozniacki, who was cheered on by boyfriend Rory McIlroy, has now lost her last four matches after falling today to Serb Bojana Jovanovski in a third set tiebreak. The Dane was up 4-0 and served for it at 5-4 in the final set before losing to the Serb who came into the contest on an 8-match losing streak.
On tap Wednesday, Nadal opens his quest for a seventh Italian Open crown against local favorite Fabio Fognini. Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova are also in action.
CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
 J Tsonga (FRA) vs J Janowicz (POL) – ATP
M Granollers (ESP) vs  A Murray (GBR) – ATP
[Q] G Muguruza (ESP) vs  M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA
Not Before 7:30 PM
F Fognini (ITA) vs  R Nadal (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 9:00 PM
J Goerges (GER) vs  V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA
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Djokovic Opens Madrid Title Defense Tuesday; Sharapova, Serena, Azarenka In WTA Action
Djokovic Opens Rome Title Defense Tuesday; Serena, Sharapova Lead Women
Djokovic Opens Rome Title Defense; Birthday Boy Murray, Serena, Sharapova Also In Action Tuesday