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Djokovic and Murray make bright starts to title defenses

Last year Novak Djokovic ended home hero Roger Federer's run of three successive titles in Basel.
Last year Novak Djokovic ended home hero Roger Federer's run of three successive titles in Basel.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Novak Djokovic beats Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-2 in opening match of Basel title defense
  • His Serbian Davis Cup teammates Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic also progress
  • Tipsarevic will play three-time champion Roger Federer in the second round
  • Valencia Open champion Andy Murray wins his opening match in Spanish event

(CNN) -- Second seed Novak Djokovic began the defense of his Swiss Indoors title with a 6-4 6-2 crushing of Latvia's Ernests Gulbis on Tuesday.

The Serbian, who last year stopped Roger Federer claiming a fourth title at his home event, took his season record to 53-14 with victory in Basel.

The world No. 3 set up a second-round clash with either Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen or young German Daniel Brands, who both came through qualifying rounds.

The 23-year-old is preparing for a big end to the season, with the ATP Tour World Finals in London later this month and then the Davis Cup final against France in early December.

It was a great day for us: three matches, three wins. It can't be better, especially before the Davis Cup
--Serbian Novak Djokovic
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World No. 2 Federer, who won his opening match on Monday when Ukrainian opponent Aleksandr Dolgopolov retired through injury while trailing 6-4 5-2, will play Djokovic's compatriot Janko Tipsarevic in the second round.

Tipsarevic, the third-ranked Serbian at 46th in the world, progressed with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin on Tuesday.

Serbian No. 2 Viktor Troicki beat Germany's Michael Berrer 6-3 6-0 to set up a meeting with either French lucky loser Paul-Henri Mathieu or Germany's Florian Mayer -- who lost to Federer in the final in Stockholm two weekends ago.

"It was a great day for us: three matches, three wins," Djokovic told reporters. "It can't be better, especially before the Davis Cup.

"I had to find a good rhythm against Ernests, the first match is always difficult. I kept control over the match the entire time. Ernests can be a tricky player."

France's Richard Gasquet also moved into the second round with a 6-3 6-1 win over Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun, and will next play either Czech third seed Tomas Berdych or German lucky loser Tobias Kamke.

In Spain, world No. 4 Andy Murray made a winning start to the defense of his Valencia Open title, beating home hope Feliciano Lopez 6-3 7-6 (7-1) in the first round on Tuesday.

The British top seed, returning to action following his Shanghai final success over Federer on October 18, came back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set to defeat the world No. 31.

He will next play Argentina's Juan Monaco, who he beat in the Shanghai semifinals.

Fourth seed David Ferrer needed just over two hours to overcome fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, with the 2008 champion coming from behind to win 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-3.

Ferrer, ranked seventh in the ATP standings and seeking one of the three remaining places for the season-ending event in London, will next play Russian qualifier Teymuraz Gabashvili.

Nicolas Almagro, whose two Valencia titles came before the event switched from outdoor clay to indoor hardcourt, crashed out of the tournament after a 6-4 3-6 6-3 defeat by fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

The world No. 59's reward is a second-round clash with Swedish second seed Robin Soderling, who beat Spain's Albert Montanes 6-1 6-4.

Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela also went through with a 6-2 3-6 6-2 victory over Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, setting up a meeting with either Russian sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko or Spanish wildcard Javier Marti.

Russia's Dmitry Tursunov was forced to retire during his opening match against another home wildcard entry Pablo Andujar, with the score 6-4 3-6 1-1.