Australian Open semi-finalist David Ferrer failed to get past the first round at the World Indoor Tournament after being surprisingly swept aside 6-3 6-4 by unseeded Finn Jarkko Nieminen on Tuesday.
It was the Spaniard's first opening round defeat since August as he struggled on serve with five double faults in the loss to a player he beat in the first round in Melbourne.
Top seed Robin Soderling had no such concerns as he sauntered to a 6-3 6-2 victory over local favorite Robin Haase in less than an hour to open the defense of his title.
The world number four enjoyed a solid start to the year after winning in Brisbane before his surprise fourth-round exit to Alexandr Dolgopolov at the Australian Open.
The Swede dropped just six points on serve to set up a second-round meeting with Germany's Philip Kohlschreiber who beat Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun 6-4 7-6.
Normally it is always difficult to play your first round matches but today it went almost perfectly, he told reporters.
But even leading by a set and a break you have to stay focused on every point as the margins nowadays are so small you can't allow him back in, the Swede added.
Eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got past Bulgarian youngster Grigor Dimitrov, named 'Baby Federer' on the circuit, 6-4 6-4 and will now meet French compatriot Michael Llodra.
He (Dimitrov) has that nickname but he still is no Federer who is more consistent and moves better, Tsonga told reporters.
(But) today I had to play my best tennis otherwise I could have lost this match, he added.
Fourth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych cruised into the second round with a 6-1 6-2 win over Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and now faces Russian qualifier Dmitry Tursunov.
Second-seeded Briton Andy Murray, who won the title in 2009 when he beat Rafael Nadal in the final, starts his campaign against unseeded Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis on Wednesday.