Andy Roddick gave his October knee injury a solid test on Monday, firing 15 aces in a first round defeat of Australian Peter Luczak 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 at the Brisbane International.
The American, playing in Australia for only the second time outside of the January Open, was joined as a winner by second seed Radek Stepanek. The veteran Czech out put Australian John Millman 6-4, 6-0.
Roddick has said that his knee injury is still not 100 per cent but he expects to be fit for the Grand Slam start on January 18 in Melbourne.
France’s Richard Gasquet won his first match since being cleared of cocaine doping charges, defeating Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 as the Finn made a comeback from five months out in 2009 with injury and swine flu.
Colombia’s Alejandro Falla ousted French seventh seed Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4 while Thomaz Bellucci, the eighth seed from Brazil, stopped Juan Chela of Argentina 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
In women’s play, Ana Ivanovic won her first match since mid-August while Justine Henin returned to tennis from retirement with a successful win.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion Henin defeated second seed Nadia Petrova of Russia 7-5, 7-5 as the Belgian played her first match since retiring in May 2008.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long. I am so happy about what I did on the court, my feelings,” said Henin.
“Everything went well. I have a lot to work on but for a first match, a first tough round, I can be really positive today.
“I feel better today than when I retired, that’s for sure. Better emotionally, mentally, better with myself and that makes a big difference — that I will enjoy being on the tour again. Petrova was also pleased overall with her game.
“It was a good match, I felt rusty from time to time but overall I am happy. Henin is playing better tennis than before she retired. It is good news that she’s back.
“She’s very quick and explosive. There is no one better on the tour.” Henin will next play Sesil Karatantcheva, who defeated Australian wildcard Casey Dellacqua 6-2 0-6, 7-6 (7-1).
Ivanovic beat Australian Jelena Dokic 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.
Ivanovic, dating Aussie golfer Adam Scott, has been in the country for more than month is well acclimatised to the steaming conditions in sub-tropical Brisbane.
The victory took 1 hour, 40 minutes, with Dokic waking up for 5-0 in the second set on her way to levelling the match.
But Ivanovic, her ranking down to 21st, re-established normal service in the third, breaking three times to claim victory. “I’m pleased with the result,” said the winner. “I still have a bunch of things to improve but I try to relax and not look ahead and take one match at a time.
“There have lots of positive signs out there for me today. My goal is to get back to the top 10.”