Johannesburg - Top South African tennis player Kevin Anderson squeezed past Romanian veteran Victor Hanescu 7-6 (8/6) 6-3 in a battle of the giants in the opening round of the Masters tournament at Indian Wells - and now faces the task of playing world No 4 David Ferrer.
Easing his way back into tournament play after undergoing elbow surgery following the Australian Open, the 6ft 8in Anderson struggled to gain the ascendancy over the 6ft 6in Hanescu and showed signs of his lengthy absence from the game in a match dominated by crunching serves.
The fourth-seeded, industrious Ferrer, who received a bye into the second round, will now present Anderson with a far more severe task, although the traditional fast hardcourts at Indian Wells will be a factor in Anderson's favour against the diminutive, relentless Spanish baseliner.
Anderson last week slumped from 29th in the ATP world rankings to 37th after failing to retain his Delray Beach title in his first comeback event, with the result that he did not receive one of the 32 seeding positions at Indian Wells and has to play Ferrer at an early stage.
Meanwhile, doubts continue as to whether Anderson will make himself available for next month's crucial Euro-Africa Group I Davis Cup tie against Poland in Warsaw.
"Negotiations with Anderson on the issue remain in the hands of Tennis South Africa CEO Ian Smith and I'm increasingly anxious to hear the outcome," said South African team captain John-Laffnie de Jager.
"Anderson's presence is almost essential in order to overcome the powerful Polish combination if we are to quaify for World Group playoffs in September."
Perennial South African Davis Cup stalwarts Rik De Voest, Izak van der Merwe and Raven Klaasen have all made themselves available for the squad.Results on Friday from the third day of the ATP Masters and WTA BNP Paribas Open (x denotes seeded player):
Matthew Ebden (AUS) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Marinko Matosevic (AUS) bt Tommy Robredo (ESP) 7-5, 6-2
Philipp Petzschner (GER) bt Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) 6-4, 6-4
Pablo Andujar (ESP) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) bt Tatsuma Ito (JPN) 6-2, 6-1
Albert Ramos (ESP) bt Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 6-3, 6-3
Carlos Berlocq (ARG) bt Santiago Giraldo (COL) 6-0, 2-6, 7-5
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) bt Jack Sock (USA) 3-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-2
James Blake (USA) bt Robin Haase (NED) 6-3, 6-4
Bjorn Phau (GER) bt Alejandro Falla (COL) 7-6 (7/1), 6-2
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) bt Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 7-6 (7/1), 6-2
Fabio Fognini (ITA) bt Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-4, 6-3
Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) bt Lukas Lacko (SVK) 6-1, 6-4
Michael Llodra (FRA) bt Daniel Munoz de la Nava (ESP) 7-5, 6-3
Bobby Reynolds (USA) bt Benjamin Becker (GER) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) bt Tim Smyczek (USA) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt Victor Hanescu (ROM) 7-6, (8/6) 6-3
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) bt Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ x31) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
Johanna Larsson (SWE) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x26) 7-5, 6-1
Roberta Vinci (ITA x14) bt Ksenia Pervak (KAZ) 6-3, 6-4
Petra Kvitova (CZE x5) bt Olga Govortsova (BLR) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Sara Errani (ITA x6) bt Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Sorana Cirstea (ROM x27) bt Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
Maria Kirilenko (RUS x13) bt Christina McHale (USA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x12) bt Simona Halep (ROM) 7-5, 7-6 (7/3)
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x25) bt Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 6-1, 6-1
Maria Sharapova (RUS x2) bt Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-1, 6-1
Marion Bartoli (FRA x9) bt Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 6-3, 6-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) bt Jelena Jankovic (SRB x18) 0-6, 6-2, 7-5
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x3) bt Maria Sanchez (USA) 6-2, 6-1
Klara Zakopalova (CZE x19) bt Shahar Peer (ISR) 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 6-3
Mallory Burdette (USA) bt Tamira Paszek (AUT x23) 7-6 (7/0), 6-1
Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino (ESP) bt Varvara Lepchenko (USA x22) 6-1, 6-4