New York, August 29:

Maria Sharapova started her defence of the US Open title with an easy 6-0, 6-1 win over the Roberta Vinci of Italy on Tuesday.

Andy Roddick, the 2003 US champion, beat Justin Gimelstob 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-3 . It was part of a mini-parade of past champions in first-round action, including victories for Martina Hingis, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Lleyton Hewitt.

Swiss star Hingis beat Mathilde Johansson of France 6-0, 6-3. Others winners included a man many consider a likely future Grand Slam champion, No 3-seeded Novak Djokovic, and No 6 James Blake. The day’s biggest early surprise came when Daniela Hantuchova, a past US Open quarter-finalist, was ousted by 50th-ranked Julia Vakulenko of Ukraine 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Hewitt eased past Amer Delic of the United States 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 while Blake downed a challenge from Michael Russell before advancing 7-6 (6), 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Djokovic beat Robin Haase 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.