Fourth seed David Ferrer passed a potentially dangerous test with flying colours as he defeated big-serving South African Kevin Anderson in the first round of the US Open.

Ferrer has been elevated into the top four because of the absence through injury of his fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal and is seeded to meet Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

Although he is more renowned for this exploits on clay, Ferrer has had just as good results on hard courts and reached the last four in New York in 2007, losing to Djokovic.

At 6ft 8in tall, Anderson is not an opponent to be underestimated, but Ferrer was in control throughout and won 6-4 6-2 7-6 (7/3) to set up a second-round meeting with Dutchman Igor Sijsling, who beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-5 6-3 6-4 today.

Serbian 29th seed Viktor Troicki went out in the first round, losing 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-2 to Germany's Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.

Ferrer was very content with his performance, saying: "I feel good. It was not an easy match. He's a really good player, he has a very strong first and second serve. I'm happy because I played good in my first round."

Eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic looked like he was on his way out when he trailed French wild card Guillaume Rufin by two sets but the Serb fought his way back to win 4-6 3-6 6-2 6-3 6-2.

Luxembourg's Gilles Muller then became the eighth player this tournament to recover from such a situation to beat 28th seed Mikhail Youzhny 2-6 3-6 7-5 7-6 (8/6) 7-6 (8/6).

The success of America's Brian Baker has been one of the stories of the season and he was a 6-3 6-4 6-2 winner over Jan Hajek today seven years after his last US Open victory.

The 27-year-old was one of the world's top juniors and was beginning to make progress when injuries struck, ruling him out of the game for six years.

Most people thought Baker had retired but he gave the game one last go last autumn and was so successful that he is now ranked 70th and reached the fourth round of Wimbledon as a qualifier.