Roger Federer has charged past his first hurdle in the quest for a lucky seventh title at the Swiss Indoors, with the top seed delivering a crushing 6-1 6-2 lesson to Mikhail Kukushkin.
The first-round demolition on Tuesday, in front of an appreciative home public at the event where the 17-time Grand Slam winner got his start in the game as a ballboy, took only 54 minutes.
2014 finalist David Goffin of Belgium, hammered by Federer in less than an hour a year ago in the title decider, won his opening match as he beat Italian Andreas Seppi 3-6 6-4 6-4.
The fourth-ranked Federer was rock solid in his first match since an opening loss a fortnight ago in Shanghai.
The Swiss is seeking his 10th straight finals appearance at Basel.
He last beat his 64th-ranked Kazakh opponent in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in Geneva a year ago.
Federer said he knew that he would be facing a tough customer in Kukushkin.
“I was seeing the ball as big as a melon,” said the 34-year-old, who has five titles this season.
“I knew that I had to stay with him in the first set as he would be looking for a fast start.
“That was my main strategy, to keep him under control. I knew the second set would go easier.
“I’m very happy with this performance, especially to advance so well here at home.
“He was trying to give me a game I don’t like but I was able to counter that.
“This was a very good start for me, an enjoyable match.”
Grigor Dimitrov began erasing a run of recent poor form as the Bulgarian beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3 6-4 to reach the second round.
German Philipp Kohlschreiber put out Pole Jerzy Janowicz 6-4 3-6 6-3.