Roger Federer insists Novak Djokovic should be the favourite for the US Open title after beginning his campaign in style under the lights at Flushing Meadows.
The world number one, who is chasing a sixth title in New York, was never really troubled during a 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over America's Donald Young.
But the 30-year-old feels the Serb's status as the defending champion and his back-to-back wins over him in semi-finals at Flushing Meadows give the second seed the edge.
Federer said: "Novak to me goes in as the favourite still because he's the defending champion.
"He's probably won the most titles on hard courts the last couple of years. It's where he felt most comfortable.
"He's beaten me the last couple of years as well. Then again, I've had a great summer. So has (Andy) Murray. It's going to be an interesting US Open. I'm happy I'm through the first round."
In contrast to the form of his opponent, 23-year-old Young last week ended a run of 17 straight defeats stretching back to February, the third longest in the Open era.
Young reached the fourth round here last year, eventually losing to Murray, and gave a decent account of himself on Arthur Ashe Stadium without ever really threatening an upset.
Federer made his move in the eighth game of the first set, breaking to love and then serving out the set, and he was soon a break up in the second set.
Young earned a huge cheer from the crowd when he levelled at 2-2 but parity was brief before the top seed streaked away again and he completed victory in an hour and 34 minutes.
A heavy thunderstorm earlier in the day had put the matches behind schedule but there was plenty of home success for the fans to cheer, with Mardy Fish, James Blake and Jack Sock all reaching the second round.
Fish, the 23rd seed, had to scrap for a straight-sets win over Japan's Go Soeda, taking more than two and a half hours to come through 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (7/2) 6-3.
Blake and Sock are at opposite ends of their careers, with Blake one of the veterans of the ATP Tour at 32 while Sock is still a teenager.
The 19-year-old benefited from the retirement of 22nd seed Florian Mayer, who called it a day with the American leading 6-3 6-2 3-2, while Blake defeated Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 7-5 6-2 3-6 6-3.
It was generally a good day for the seeds, with Fernando Verdasco, Kei Nishikori, Jeremy Chardy, Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers all winning.