Monaco – Fabio Fognini of Italy was two points away from defeat before rallying to beat Joao Sousa 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Sousa led 5-2 and 30-0 on Fognini's serve, but the Portuguese player lost his composure and then started complaining to the chair umpire at the end of the second set and midway through the third.

The 10th-seeded Fognini, who lost to title-holder Novak Djokovic in last year's semifinal, was the highest seeded player in action Monday in the clay-court tournament.

In other first round matches, there were victories for Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, Czech players Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol, and Spaniard Albert Montanes. – Sapa-AP