Bernard Tomic has snapped a seven-match losing streak to set up a second-round showdown with Novak Djokovic at the Toronto Masters.
Tomic defeated German qualifier Michael Berrer 6-3 3-6 6-3, while fellow Australian Matt Ebden also progressed with a 0-6 6-4 6-3 victory over Canadian wildcard Peter Polansky.
The 19-year-old Tomic fought off five of six break points faced on serve and broke Berrer twice en route to his 20th match win of the season – but first since the French Open in May.
Next up is Djokovic, the five-times major winner and defending champion, who enjoyed a first-round bye.
Djokovic is aiming to forget his London Olympic semi-final loss as he seeks an immediate adjustment from the grass of the Summer Games at Wimbledon to the punishing cement of North America.
Djokovic lost in his bid for the Olympic glory when he went down to eventual gold medal winner Andy Murray 7-5 7-5 in the semi-finals.
Murray won the 2009-2010 editions in Canada, the first major ATP competition which brings out the world’s elite as they prepare for the US Open in three weeks.
World No.1 Federer and No.3 Rafael Nadal are two of the top names missing the tournament.
Federer withdrew to concentrate on his Olympic final while Nadal has yet to recover from his chronic knee tendinitis which has left his summer a shambles.
The Spanish claycourt king is hoping to return in a week for the Cincinnati Masters in the US, but there are no guarantees about his actual plans or fitness.
Due to the special scheduling circumstances surrounding this year’s edition, all 16 seeds in the Toronto draw had byes into the second round.
Like Tomic, Ebden also faces a tough second-round assignment against 11th-seeded American Mardy Fish.
Serbia’s Viktor Troicki eliminated Alex Bogomolov 6-4 7-6 (7-5), while France’s Jeremy Chardy downed Donald Young of the United States 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-0.
Chardy will next take on fellow Frenchman and third seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In other first-round results, Pablo Andujar of Spain accounted for Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-2 4-6 6-2 and Italy’s Flavio Cipolla beat Jurgen Zopp of Estonia 6-1 6-2.
In the late match, Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis toppled Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-4 6-3 to set up a second-round clash with Croatian 10th seed Marin Cilic.