The Australian won his encounter with Poland's Michal Przysiezny, despite trailing 2-6 6-5. Przysiezny was forced to retire with an ankle injury.
Meanwhile two-time tournament champion Nikolay Davydenko was bundled out of the ATP 250 event.
Russian Davydenko – who won the event in 2004 and 2011 – was no match for Argentine Federico Delbonis, who produced a 6-2 7-6 (7-4) triumph.
Delbonis immediately claimed the initiative when he broke his opponent in the first game and he never looked back in an excellent victory that took just one hour and 33 minutes.
The world number 44 made another break in the first set and his impressive serving helped him claim control.
The second set was a much tighter affair, with play remaining on serve until the tie-break.
Delbonis – who did not face one break point during the match – crucially won the first three points of the tie-break before eventually claiming victory.
Davydenko did well to save seven of nine break points, but ultimately paid the price for a sluggish start that gave his opponent the early momentum.
A meeting with Croatian Ivan Dodig or Brazilian qualifier Thomaz Bellucci awaits in the second round for Delbonis.
German wildcard Dustin Brown needed two tie-breaks to see off Croatia's Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) in the first round.
Both players were dominant on serve on the clay, with Brown winning 40 of 49 points on first serve and Karlovic claiming 42 of 55.
Neither player was able to make a break as a result, forcing tie-breaks, and Brown came out on top when the pressure was on.
Other results saw Colombian Alejandro Falla post his first ATP World Tour main draw win since March with a crushing 6-2 6-1 win against Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.
Falla – who made six breaks – will play defending champion and second seed Tommy Haas in the second round.