Milos Raonic and Nick Kyrgios will meet in round two of the Internazionali d'Italia after both men came through their opening matches in contrasting fashion on Monday.
Tenth seed Raonic was forced to dig deep to see off Italian wildcard Marco Cecchinato, eventually prevailing 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 against a player he beat in straight sets last month in Monte Carlo.
Kyrgios enjoyed a much easier day's work, thrashing Salvatore Caruso 6-1, 6-2, but knows a stiffer test lies ahead. "I'm confident going forward, but at the same time Raonic's got one of the best serves in the world," said Kyrgios.
"If he's having a lights-out day when he does everything, you can't really do too much. I'm going to go out there and do what I have been doing and just compete. If I happen to win, I win."
In addition to Raonic, fellow seeds Richard Gasquet and Dominic Thiem progressed to the second round on Monday, but Gael Monfils was eliminated by Thomaz Bellucci and Jo Wilfried-Tsonga withdrew from the tournament citing an adductor injury.
ROMA'S FINEST SHOW THEIR SKILLS
A host of Roma players swapped the football pitch for the tennis court on Monday evening as part of a charity event.
Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi, Stephan El Shaarawy and Miralem Pjanic were among the Giallorossi representatives involved in 'Tennis with Stars'.
Totti certainly appeared comfortable with a racquet in his hand as he partnered Kyrgios in a doubles match against Francesca Schiavone and De Rossi, while El Shaarawy let his feet do the talking as he performed an impressive kick-ups routine with a tennis ball.
SEPPI THE SOLE ITALIAN WINNER
Eight Italians were in singles action in Rome on Monday across the ATP and WTA events, but Andreas Seppi was the only one to taste victory. Seppi got the better of Vasek Pospisil in two tie-breaks to set up a second-round tie with 11th seed Gasquet - a semi-finalist in Rome five years ago.
However, Fabio Fognini was beaten 6-1, 7-6, (7-2) by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez — a player 20 places below him in the rankings - and wildcards Cecchinato, Caruso and Lorenzo Sonego also failed to reach round two.
ZVEREV SETS UP FEDERER CLASH
Roger Federer is set to face a stern test on his return from injury, with teenager Alexander Zverev his first opponent on the Rome clay. Zverev enhanced his burgeoning reputation with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over an out-of-sorts Grigor Dimitrov.
Andy Murray will begin his campaign against Mikhail Kukushkin, who came through a tight encounter with Borna Coric.