MICHAEL Chang took the first step towards successfully defending his Salem Hong Kong Open title when he defeated Switzerland's Jakob Hlasek 6-1, 6-3 in the first round at Victoria Park last night. The 23-year-old Chang was given a rousing welcome by his fanatical supporters and duly obliged with a relatively routine victory. His second-round opponent in the US$328,000 tournament is German qualifier Alex Radulescu and Chang felt last night's win was the perfect platform on which to launch his title defence. 'I think it was a good match for me,' the top seed and world number eight said. 'It went off pretty well and it was nice to be back on court at Victoria Park.' Chang displayed a rare bout of frustration on court as he approaced the umpire's chair to dispute a line call he felt was out. But the Chinese-American said there are times when the umpire has to be alerted to possible faulty line-calls. Chang has dropped to eighth from sixth in the latest world rankings, despite reaching the semi-finals of last week's Japan Open. After Chang's win, in-form American Jim Courier, the third seed, ended the presense of South Korean wild card entry Yoon Yong-il with a 6-2, 6-4 victory. Courier, who won the Japan Open last week by beating world number one Andre Agassi in the final, is seen as the main threat to top seeds Chang and Wayne Ferreira. Yonn was granted his wild card entry to the main draw by virtue of his victory in last December's Salem Asian Championship. Second seed Ferreira advanced to the second round of the competition with a straight-sets victory over British veteran Jeremy Bates. Ferreira, 11th on the ATP rankings, survived a few anxious moments before overcoming the 32-year-old Bates, ranked 54, 7-5, 6-4, to set up a second-round encounter with American Jeff Tarango. The South African was joined in the second round yesterday by Russian sixth seed Alexander Volkov, Germany's David Prinosil, Denmark's Kenneth Carlsen and American Jonathan Stark. Ferreira combined powerful serves and consistent rallying to oust Bates, although he was also prone to unnecessary errors. 'It was a little bit difficult getting used to the court, and the balls were a bit softer than they were last week,' said Ferreira, who reached the semi-finals of the Japan Open last week. 'Other than that, I thought I played pretty well to win. The heat was not a problem for me. 'I was in Tokyo last week and the week before that I was in Thailand, so there was really no problem.' Ferreira ran into early trouble against Bates, dropping his serve on the sixth game of the first set to trail 2-4. But the man who last year won 74 singles matches - second only to Pete Sampras - rallied in the next game to even the score. He went on to break Bates once more in the final game of the set with an ace which the Englishman - and a few people in the 1,000-odd crowd - thought could have gone out. Ferreira stormed to a 4-0 second-set lead via two breaks, the second of which saw an increasingly frustrated Bates slam a service return into the net as if he was resigned to defeat. But the Briton, who last year won in Seoul, staged a mini-revival, retrieving one break of serve. Ferreira, though, held on to his one-break advantage for the rest of the game and eventually beat Bates on his second match point. Ferreira served seven aces against four double-faults during the match, while Bates sent down two aces of his own.