Benneteau is the 31st seed and the man who almost beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon this year, but he could do nothing to threaten Djokovic.
The Serb, who beat Rafael Nadal in the final last year, has been slightly off colour since losing to the Spaniard in the French Open final to see his hopes of four straight grand slam titles go up in smoke. But he has hit form again on the north American hard courts, winning the title in Toronto and reaching the final in Cincinnati, and he made it only 14 games dropped in three rounds with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Benneteau could not live with Djokovic’s power and precision from the back of the court and often found himself out-rallied, with the second seed winning in an hour and 37 minutes.
Djokovic, who next faces either Alexandr Dolgopolov or Stanislas Wawrinka, said: “It was important for me to start off very strong and I played really well.”
Kim Clijsters’ career ended on Saturday when the Belgian lost in the second round of the mixed doubles. The four-times grand slam winner, partnered by American Bob Bryan, lost 6-2, 3-6 (12-10) to Russian Ekaterina Makarova and Brazilian Bruno Soares. Clijsters had announced she was retiring after the US Open to focus on her family and had already lost in singles, to Britain’s Laura Robson, and the women’s doubles.