Goran Ivanisevic, trying to reverse a decline that began last year, beat David Prinosil 6-3, 6-2 in the first round on Thursday at the Ericsson Open.
Ivanisevic, who hasn't won a tournament since 1998, said he was still enjoying tennis despite his prolonged slump. He went 22-26 last year and is 7-8 this year.
"I'm just losing matches I shouldn't lose," Ivanisevic said. "But I'm playing three times better than I played last year. I'm hitting the ball better, and my concentration is much better. I'm not doing so many double faults, and I'm more happy as a player."
Ivanisevic, the tournament runner-up in 1996, is unseeded this year and ranks 52nd in the ATP Tour standings. But the colorful Croatian remains popular with fans.
"The worse I play, the people like me more," he said. "I don't know why."
Only unseeded players were in action on the first day of the Ericsson, formerly known as the Lipton Championships. In other men's matches, Justin Gimelstob lost to Roger Federer 7-5, 6-3; Andrei Medvedev beat Andrew Ilie 7-5, 6-2; and Carlos Moya defeated Juan Albert Viloca 6-4, 6-2.
Moya, who won for only the second time since recovering from a stress fracture in his back, plays two-time champion Pete Sampras in the second round.
"Just being back on court is great for me," Moya said. "Now I need to win some matches to get confident again."
In women's play, Jelena Dokic beat Nana Miyagi 6-3, 6-2.
Men's singles, first round
Carlos Moya beat Juan Albert Viloca 6-4 6-2 Sjeng Schalken beat Markus Hipfl 6-3 6-1 Andrei Medvedev beat Andrew Ilie 7-5 6-2 Roger Federer beat Justin Gimelstob 7-5 6-3 Max Mirnyi beat Mikael Tillstrom 6-1 3-6 6-4 Paul Goldstein beat Christian Ruud 6-2 6-1 Gaston Gaudio beat Hernan Gumy 6-3 6-3 Mardy Fish beat Galo Blanco 6-4 0-6 4-1 retired Byron Black beat Rainier Schuttler 6-3 7-5 Richard Fromberg beat Jeff Tarango 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-5 Goran Ivanisevic beat David Prinosil 6-3 6-2
Women's singles, first round
Magdalena Maleeva beat Rita Grande 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 Tatiana Poutchek beat Kristie Boogert 6-1 6-2 Silvia Farina beat Gala Leon Garcia 6-2 7-5 Jelena Dokic beat Nana Miyagi 6-3 6-2 Irina Spirlea beat Katarina Srebotnik 7-5 6-1 Denisa Chladkova beat Catalina Cristea 6-3 7-5 Adriana Gersi beat Lenka Nemeckova 7-5 6-1 Brie Rippner beat Els Callens 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 Nicole Pratt beat Jana Nejedly 3-6 6-4 6-0 Angeles Montolio beat Sonya Jeyaseelan 6-2 3-6 6-2 Kristina Brandi beat Melissa Middleton 6-2 6-0 Holly Parkinson beat Magdalena Grzybowska 4-6 6-2 7-5 Karina Habsudova beat Joannette Kruger 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-1 Tatiana Panova beat Emmanuelle Gagliardi 6-4 6-2 Daniela Bedanova lene Weingartner 6-3 6-0 Amelie Cocheteux beat Paola Suarez 3-6 6-4 7-5 Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo beat Florencia Labat 6-2 6-3 Tamarine Tanasugarn beat Alina Jidkova 6-3 6-3
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