NEW YORK - Roger Federer, Gael Monfils and Mardy Fish were easy first-round winners, as the 2011 U.S. Open commenced Monday in New York.
The third-seeded Federer cruised to a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Colombia's Santiago Giraldo. The 16-time Grand Slam champion Federer is a five-time U.S. Open winner and was the runner-up here in 2009. He lost to Rafael Nadal in this year's French Open finale.
With his victory Monday, Federer equaled Andre Agassi for second-most Grand Slam wins in the Open era with 224. Jimmy Connors is first with 233.
Monfils, the seventh seed from France, battled past Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-4.
The eighth-seeded Fish leveled German Tobias Kamke 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 at Ashe Stadium.
"I'm just so excited to be in this position," said Fish, who came to New York as the highest-ranked American and among the favorites.
Fish's victory was highlighted by a between-the-legs shot in the final game.
"To be honest, I thought that was my only shot," Fish said. "I didn't try to hit a winner. Just tried to make it."
The Minnesota native Fish reached the fourth round in Flushing last year.
Ninth-seeded Tomas Berdych moved on with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 victory over Frenchman Romain Jouan, while 13th-seeded French star Richard Gasquet whipped Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-4, 6-0. The capable Czech Berdych was last year's Wimbledon runner-up.
Viktor Troicki earned the dubious distinction of being the first seeded player eliminated. The 15th-seeded Serbian succumbed to Alejandro Falla of Colombia 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.
Young American hopeful Ryan Harrison, a 19-year-old Louisiana native, came up a loser on Day 1, as big Croat Marin Cilic, seeded 27th at this fortnight, posted a 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) decision at Armstrong Stadium.
Meanwhile, 20th-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic handled Frenchman Augustin Gensse 6-2, 7-5, 6-0; 22nd-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov topped Portuguese Frederico Gil 6-4, 6-2, 7-5; 23rd-seeded Czech Radek Stepanek drilled German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-1, 6-3; 29th-seeded Frenchman Michael Llodra overcame Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; and 31st-seeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers grounded Belgian Xavier Malisse 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which was in terrific shape after weathering Hurricane Irene over the weekend.
Promising Aussie Bernard Tomic moved on with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over American journeyman Michael Yani. The 18-year-old Tomic was a surprise Wimbledon quarterfinalist last month.
Additional opening-round wins came for 6-foot-10 Croat Ivo Karlovic, South African slugger Kevin Anderson, Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero, Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin, Italians Fabio Fognini and Flavio Cipolla, Germans Philipp Petzschner and Tommy Haas, Argentine Juan Monaco, Tunisia's Malek Jaziri and Dudi Sela of Israel.
Karlovic beat former top-five star and former Aussie Open runner-up Fernando Gonzalez, of Chile, in straight sets. "Gonzo" is still on the mend following a hip surgery.
The top seeds here are reigning Wimbledon and Aussie Open champ Novak Djokovic and Nadal, who beat Djokovic in last year's finale here in New York.
This year's U.S. Open champ will pocket at least $1.8 million, and the U.S. Open Series winner Fish has a shot at earning a record $2.8 million in the Big Apple.
Djokovic plays during the day session Tuesday against Ireland's Conor Niland, while Nadal is on court under the lights vs. Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev.