Britain's Andy Murray looked rusty early on in his match against Luxembourg's Gilles Muller after his return from injury but he turned it around to beat Muller 7-5 7-5 and reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters.
The world number one was playing his first match since 12th March after recovering from an elbow injury that had affected his serve.
Ahead of the match, Murray had insisted he was serving normally again, but three double faults in the first four points of the match got him into trouble against an opponent who he had beaten in all five of their previous meetings.
Murray then had to save a set point before winning four games in a row. He won the set when Muller missed a simple volley, smashing his racket in frustration.
Despite looking some way off his best, and struggling to find any consistency, Murray battled through the second set to make it through.
The top seed next faces Spanish 15th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Murray told Sky Sports: “It was a tough first match, I started the match pretty slow, I obviously wasn’t serving that well at the start.
“I haven’t been in the best rhythm on serve because I only started serving at full speed four or five days ago. I knew it would take a bit of time but I wasn’t expecting to start serving like that.
“It got a little bit better, I started to create a lot of chances in the second set. I couldn’t get the breakthrough until right at the end.”
Ahead of Thursday’s clash with Ramos-Vinolas, Murray said: “He’s always a tough guy to play against. I’ve practiced with him quite a bit, he obviously likes the clay.
“He’s a lefty as well so it’s good I got some practice in. It’s a completely different match-up and I’ll need to be ready for a big fight because he doesn’t give anything for free.”
Murray has significantly extended his lead over Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings despite a slow start to the season.
The Scot has improved his fortunes on clay over the last two years, when previously it had been his weakest surface.News Now - Sport News