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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Federer powers through
World number one Roger Federer took little over an hour to reach the second round of the French Open.

The top seed destroyed Belgian qualifier Kristof Vliegen 6-1 6-2 6-1.

Federer, the Australian Open champion, has been beaten in the first round in the last two years, but there was never a hint of a shock on Tuesday.

He completely outclassed world number 110 Vliegen, breaking serve seven times to set up a second-round meeting with Nicolas Kiefer.

Federer said he was relieved to pass his first test, after opening-round defeats to Hicham Arazi in 2002 and to Luis Horna last year.

"It's a little bit of a relief - there has been so much talk if I would lose three times in a row at the French Open," Federer said.

"I tried to be as well prepared as I could and not put a huge amount of pressure of myself."

Rainer Schuettler's torrid season continued as he crashed out in the first round.

The seventh seed, who also lost in the first round of the Australian Open earlier this year, was beaten 6-4 7-5 6-4 by erratic Belgian Xavier Malisse.

Schuettler, one of last year's most consistent performers, has failed to get past the first hurdle in nine tournaments in 2004.

Last year's finalist Martin Verkerk reached the second round with a comprehensive 7-5 6-3 6-1 win over France's Julien Boutter.

Verkerk's form has been patchy since he caused one of the biggest surprises in French Open history with his run to the final a year ago.

The Dutchman, who next faces talented Romanian Victor Hanescu, needs to do well at this year's event to avoid a dramatic slide down the rankings.

Marat Safin, the 20th seed, is also safely through to the second round after his opponent succumbed to injury.

Argentine Agustin Calleri retired with the Russian leading 5-7 6-1 4-1.

Two more of the better known players also came through comfortably.

Eighth seed David Nalbandian beat young Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-5 7-6 (7-1).

While 12th seed Lleyton Hewitt beat Arnaud di Pasquale 6-0 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-1.

Hewitt faces Jurgen Melzer in round two while Nalbandian's reward is a match-up with Colombian Alejandro Falla.




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