Andy Murray won his first competitive match in five weeks as he began his clay-court season with a win over Gilles Muller at the Monte-Carlo Masters.
Despite showing some early rust world number one Murray, sidelined since mid-March with an elbow injury, eventually battled through 7-5 7-5.
Murray, who had won all five of their previous meetings, started slowly with Muller, a top-30 player for the first time aged 33, missing a chance to take the opening set at 5-3.
But that only served to spark the Scot into life and two games later Murray completed the turnaround by winning the set when Muller missed a simple volley, smashing his racket in frustration.
After an exchange of breaks at the start of the second Murray missed several openings as he struggled to find any consistency.
But a bit of the old Murray magic brought up his first match point with a backhand dinked across the court and he took it when Muller blazed a forehand wide.
The top seed next faces Spanish 15th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
“It was a tough first match, I started the match pretty slow, I obviously wasn’t serving that well at the start,” Murray said afterwards.
“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 practised 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.”