Rome, Italy, 15 May 2012 | AP

Bernard Tomic has set up a tantalising second round meeting with world No.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic at the Rome Masters.

The Australian teenager dropped the first set but rallied past Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 4-6 6-2 6-4 to book a date with Djokovic on Tuesday night.

Tomic bounced back from his first round exit in Madrid to beat Giraldo in the last major clay court event before his French Open assault begins in two weeks time.

In the women’s event, fellow Australian Jarmila Gajdosova went down 6-4 7-6(3) to Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa.

Gajdosova, the world No.69, sent down eight double faults throughout the one hour and 42 minute encounter.

Australian qualifier Anastasia Rodionova came close to producing one of the biggest upsets in the first round of the tournament when she led the in-form 12th seed Angelique Kerber of Germany.

But Kerber’s confidence shone through at the Foro Italico, and she was able to claw back from the deficit to eventually run out a 4-6 7-5 6-2 winner in almost two hours and 20 minutes.

Sam Stosur will begin her Italian Open campaign against either local Sara Errani or Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, who will face off on Tuesday afternoon.