Rome, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Anderson was among Sunday's first- round winners at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia tennis event.
The 15th-seeded Anderson fired 18 aces and rallied from 0-2 down in the third set as he edged Florian Mayer 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4) in nearly three hours.
Italian wild card Matteo Donati made his ATP Tour debut a match to remember, upsetting Santiago Giraldo 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Elsewhere on the red clay at Foro Italico, Nicolas Almagro of Spain handled Italian wild card Luca Vanni 6-4, 6-3, Czech Jiri Vesely outlasted Latvian Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-3, Jeremy Chardy of France eliminated Czech Lukas Rosol 7-6 (7-0), 6-4 and Leonardo Mayer of Argentina got past Italian wild card Federico Gaio 6-3, 6-4.
Novak Djokovic beat then reigning two-time champion Rafael Nadal in last year's marquee finale. Nadal is a seven-time titlist in Rome, while Djokovic owns three championships in the "Eternal City."
The two greats have combined to win the last 10 titles at this Masters 1000 tournament.