Blake leads American charge
James Blake's straight-set victory over Tatsuma Ito led an American charge on the opening day's play at the ATP event in Washington.
Home favourite Blake was one of three Americans to progress into the second round as the action kicked off at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.
Blake downed Japan's Ito 6-3 6-3 while compatriots Michael Russell and Donald Young also ensured their safe passage into the next round with 6-4 7-6(4) and 6-0 6-3 respective wins over big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic and Artem Sitak of New Zealand.
But it was a day to forget for Rajeev Ram of the US, who was losing 6-1 3-2 to Australia's Matthew Ebdon before he was forced to retire.
Ebdon's compatriot Chris Guccione also progressed, the world number 275 downing Colombia's Alejandro Falla 7-6(3) 6-3, while Marinko Matosevic beat Richard Berankis ofLithuania 7-6(3) 3-6 6-1 on a good day for Australia.
Rounding off the day's action was Czech Radek Stepanek who put out Germany's Philipp Petzschner 6-7(2) 6-4 6-0 and Igor Kunitsyn beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, the Russian winning 6-4 3-6 7-6(5).