CINCINNATI, Ohio, Aug 16 (AFP): Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal began with fighting victories at the ATP Cincinnati Masters here Tuesday to take the first step toward another showdown on cement.
Defending champion Federer, fresh from his seventh trophy of the season last weekend in Toronto, took a few games to click into gear before rolling past top Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan 7-5, 6-4.
The victory was the third in the series for the Swiss top seed, who has now won 55 straight matches on North American hardcourt while maintaining a win streak of 18 matches.
Second seed Nadal outlasted American teen Sam Querrey 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-3 but struggled with the mental side after last week's third-round loss in Canada.
Also winning his opener at the 2.45 million-dollar warm-up event for the US Open was Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic. The fourth seed eliminated Britain's Greg Rusedski 6-3, 6-4.
Rusedski's compatriot Murray continued the changing of the guard in British tennis, defeating former British number one Henman 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in another first-round match.
Spain's seventh seed Tommy Robredo beat Toronto finalist Richard Gasquet 7- 5, 7-5 while 2005 finalist and 2003 winner Andy Roddick put aside a lingering injury to advance over Italian Daniele Bracciali 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5).