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Fabio's Great Escape In Monte-Carlo

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Fabio Fognini survived a first-round scare on Monday at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, rallying from a set and 5-2 30/0 down to defeat Joao Sousa 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes.

"I don't know what happened to me. I was [up] 5-3 in the first set, then I was [down] 7-5, 2-0, then 5-2," he said. "If you want to talk about my tennis, I'm not happy today.  But, you know, on the other hand, I was I think a bit lucky. But happy to be in the second round again because this victory, it's really important for me."

The 10th-seeded Fognini beat two Top 10 players to reach the semi-finals at the Monte-Carlo Country Club last year (l. to Djokovic). He comes into the 2014 edition having made a career-best start to the season, compiling a 22-6 match record (the third most wins on the ATP World Tour) and winning his third ATP World Tour title in Vina del Mar (d. Mayer).

The Italian goes on to face Roberto Bautista Agut, who defeated Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-2.

No. 11 seed Tommy Robredo was untroubled in his opener, defeating qualifier David Goffin 6-4, 6-1 in 83 minutes. The Spaniard claimed his 12th win of the season, highlighted by a semi-final showing on clay in Buenos Aires. The 31 year old is making his 10th appearance in Monte-Carlo, reaching the quarter-finals in 2006 (l. to Gaudio).

Watch Robredo's Hot Shot

Radek Stepanek set a second-round clash with fourth seed Roger Federer after dismissing Ivo Karlovic 6-1, 6-2 in 58 minutes. Stepanek broke the Croat’s formidable serve four times and limited him to just two aces.

Stepanek trails Federer 2-13 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, with his last victory over the 21-time ATP Masters 1000 champion coming six years ago on clay in the Rome quarter-finals.

Ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will open his campaign against Philipp Kohlschreiber after the German defeated Italy’s Simone Bolelli 6-3, 6-4 in 76 minutes. Meanwhile, qualifier Albert Montanes earned a second-round clash with defending champion Novak Djokovic after defeating Benoit Paire 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.

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