World number four Andy Murray had to work hard to beat a determined Marcos Baghdatis to reach the second round of the Japan Open in Tokyo.
The 24-year-old Briton, fresh from victory at the Thailand Open last week, needed a tough two hours and 33 minutes to see off the Cypriot 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-4.
Murray got off to a slow start, going down 0-2 in the first set before battling back to go a set ahead. He went down 0-4 in the second set and never recovered, as Baghdatis made it one set all.
The second-seeded Murray was again 1-3 down in the final set. But he managed to make it even at 3-3 with a break in the sixth game and went on to take a 5-4 lead as the two men held their serves.
Murray’s backhand went long on his first match point and, after repeating deuces five times, Murray had another match point when Baghdatis hit a double fault.
Murray clinched his ticket to the second round when Baghdatis, a finalist in Malaysia last week, hit a backhand out.
It was only Murray’s second win over Baghdatis in five meetings.
In the second round he will take on American Alex Bogomolov Jr, who defeated Jarkko Nieminen of Finland on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, who defeated Baghdatis in the Malaysian Open final, failed to keep the momentum, losing to Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (3/7), 7-5 in just over three hours.
Steady rain forced the organisers to halt matches on outside courts and singles matches were moved to the centre court with the roof closed.