Big-serving fifth seed Kevin Anderson began his Australian Open campaign with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 win Monday over Adrian Mannarino.
The South African, a runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year, had failed to reach the second round at Melbourne Park since 2015, but made no mistake this time round.
He overcame a second-set blip Monday, dropping his serve twice from a break up against the French world number 41, before prevailing in two hours 53 minutes on Melbourne Arena.
He next faces either American Frances Tiafoe or Indian qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the second round.
World No 2 Rafael Nadal blazed into the second round with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 demolition of Australian wildcard James Duckworth.
The Spanish 17-time Grand Slam champion appeared back to full fitness after an injury-plagued 2018 as he raced through in 2hr 15min.
“Not easy to come back after a lot of months especially against a player playing super aggressive on every point,” Nadal said.
“He came on with a lot of determination and made it hard to be on rhythm. For me it is so special to be back, especially on Rod Laver Arena.”
He will next play either another Australian Matthew Ebden or Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff who face off later Monday.