Hero Roger Federer received a standing ovation from an appreciative home crowd after a routine 6-1, 6-2 thumping of Czech Tomas Zib to start a sentimental campaign at the Swiss Indoors on Tuesday.
The dominating world No. 1 was playing for the first time in his city since 2003, missing the last two editions through leg and ankle injuries. The one-way victory marked the 83rd against five losses this season for the holder of 10 titles this year.
"I had a nice reception, I'm playing well, the result was fantastic, I couldn't ask for more," Federer said.
Federer will take on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round after the Spaniard defeated Germany's Julian Reister 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.
The Swiss said that playing the event is a pleasure, with pressure not a factor.
"I don't feel pressure, I'm playing in front of friends and family," said the 25-year-old, who got his start as a ballboy at the tournament. "I know the court well."
"I don't have any pressure at all. It's not like the early years when I really wanted to win it. I have a lot of years left here," said the losing finalist in 2000 and 2001.
Federer claimed his 20th match victory in succession, with three of his 10 titles coming in that run at the US Open, Tokyo and last weekend at the Madrid Masters.
His trophy count since January is twice that of joint-second holders James Blake and Rafael Nadal.
Against the 30-year-old qualifier Zib, Federer finished with an ace. He also drew admiration with a flicking last-chance cross-court winner midway through the second set which left Zib dumbfounded.
Thai Paradorn Srichaphan got through a tough match over Benjamin Becker, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/4) to reach the second round.
Andy Murray on Tuesday night withdrew from the tournament after suffering for three days with a throat infection.
The British No. 1 had been due to play Juan del Potro of Argentina yesterday.
Top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko defeated Fabrice Santoro 6-3, 6-1 on Tuesday to advance to the second round at the St. Petersburg Open.
Davydenko, who beat Santoro in the Kremlin Cup semi-finals two weeks ago on the way to his fourth title this season, closed it out in 62 minutes.
No. 196 Wayne Arthurs upset second-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 to also advance.
The 35-year-old Arthurs broke the Spaniard in the fifth game of the first set. Robredo won five straight games in the second set to level the match, but lost five games in a row to trail 5-3 in the decider.
Vera Zvonareva rallied to beat eighth-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 on Tuesday in the first round of the Generali Ladies.
The Russian is now 5-0 against the 14th-ranked Schiavone, who was still hampered by the right calf injury that forced her to pull out of the Zurich Open last week.
Zvonareva will now play Mary Pierce of France, who beat Ai Sugiyama of Japan 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5).
Both players dropped serve six times in the match. Sugiyama, the 2003 champion, was broken twice while serving for the first set.
The 25th-ranked Sugiyama trailed 3-0 in the second set, but 1999 champion Pierce was broken while serving for the match at 5-4.
Nathalie Dechy beat 15-year-old Austrian wild card Tamira Paszek 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. Paszek won the first set in just over 20 minutes, but lost her rhythm after treatment on a pulled muscle in her right leg.
Mara Santangelo of Italy downed Ukrainian qualifier Alona Bondarenko 6-4, 1-6, 6-3; and 17-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 6-4, 7-5.