Tokyo - Canada's Milos Raonic looked sharp on his return from wrist surgery on Tuesday as he battered Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Japan Open.
The third seed, who was forced to sit out the US Open due to a persistent problem with his left wrist, displayed very few signs of rust after a seven-week absence, taking just 71 minutes to blast his way into the last 16.
A right-hander with a double-fisted backhand, Raonic tore through the opening set in bright Tokyo sunshine and secured the key break early in the second with a cleverly disguised drop shot.
Troicki fought gamely but when a Raonic volley clipped the net and trickled over, the Serb slammed his racquet to the ground in disgust and bellowed furiously at the Japanese crowd.
Raonic, a former world number three and winner of eight ATP Tour singles titles, rifled 16 aces to pile the misery on Troicki, completing victory with a kicking serve that his opponent could only waft into the net.
Currently ranked 12th, Raonic finished runner-up at the Japan Open three years running from 2012-2014, twice to local favourite Kei Nishikori.
The former Wimbledon finalist faces either 2015 Tokyo runner-up Benoit Paire of France or Japan's Yuichi Sugita.
Elsewhere, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, another former Japan Open finalist, upset American sixth seed Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-6 after clinically winning the second-set breaker 7-2.
Croatian Marin Cilic heads the Tokyo field this year at a tournament whose list of former champions includes tennis greats Ken Rosewall, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Results of singles matches at the Japan Open tennis tournament in Tokyo on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):
Milos Raonic (CAN x3) bt Viktor Troicki (SRB) 6-3, 6-4
Richard Gasquet (FRA) bt Sam Querrey (USA x6) 6-4, 7-6 (7/2)
Yuichi Sugita (JPN) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-4, 0-0 retired
Matthew Ebden (AUS) bt Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-4, 6-3
Diego Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt Donald Young (USA) 6-2, 7-5