Top seed Tim Henman begun the defense of his Swiss Indoor title in the best possible way when he cruised past French qualifier Cedric Pioline 6-1 6-4 in the first round on Wednesday evening in Basel.
The British number one made swift work of his first appearance on court since becoming a father, and his victory pushed the British number one’s earnings past the million dollar mark for the year and furthered his chances of qualifying for the Tennis Masters Cup.
Click here for all the latest singles results from Basel.
Next up for the world number seven is another Frenchman Nicolas Escude, who advanced at the expense of Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko, who withdrew from their match after dropping the first set on a tie-break.
However, French Open champion Albert Costa's bid to qualify for the year-end championships in Shanghai suffered a major blow after the Spaniard lost in straight sets to Romania’s Adrian Voinea.
Costa is now ninth in the ATP Champions Race although he could still qualify as a wildcard entry – guaranteed to the highest ranked Grand Slam champion inside the top twenty of the Race, where Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson is also in contention.
Local favourite Marc Rosset (SUI) lost his first round match to second seed Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) but had the consolation of being named captain of Switzerland's Davis Cup team afterwards. The team has been without a coach since the death of Australian Peter Carter in a road accident in South Africa earlier in the year.
Elsewhere there were first round wins for the big-hitting American Andy Roddick, who ousted Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, last year’s runner-up Roger Federer, who disposed of Dutchman Martin Verkerk in straight sets, and French qualifier Nicolas Thomann, who beat Hungary’s Attila Savolt for the loss of only five games.