Andy Murray won a decisive set all this season and advanced to the second round in Indian Wells.
The former world number one defeated Thomas Etcheverry 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-4 in a match that lasted three hours and 12 minutes.
Murray had at least 20 break points, 16 of which were saved by the 23-year-old Argentine.
“I really felt in control for a lot of the match,” Murray said.
“I created a lot of opportunities, but I just couldn’t take them. Sometimes I made bad decisions, but in the end I managed to do it.”
Etcheverry was sharper in the first set in a tiebreak, which he won 7-5, and had a break point in the second to lead 2-1.
But Murray saved that break point before running away with the second set.
Both players had chances in the deciding set. Etcheverry had two break points at 4-3 but Murray saved them with a good serve before securing a crucial break in the next game when the Argentine double-faulted.
“I’m not going to keep winning every three-set match I play, but it’s been an amazing start to the year,” Murray continued.
“It was still really hard to come back because the first set was extremely long and I was like, ‘Here we go again.’
“It’s a place where I haven’t always played my best tennis, so I was very happy to be able to change that.”
Murray will play Spain’s Pablo Carreño Busta, world number 17, in the second round on Saturday.
Draper arranges an all-British clash
Murray’s victory came after fellow countryman Jack Draper, 21, thrashed Switzerland’s Leandro Riedi 6-1 6-1 to set up a second-round meeting with fellow Briton Dan Evans.
The left-hander has not played since mid-January, when he lost to Spain’s Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open.
Showing no signs of the leg injury he’s been dealing with, Draper looked sharp as he picked apart a serve from 135th-ranked Reedy.
Draper, ranked 56th, broke six of the seven return games and also dominated on her own serve.
Despite a seven-week layoff, Draper showed why he is one of the ATP Tour’s young stars, hitting the ball with confidence and consistency in an impressive performance.
The quick victory sets up an intriguing clash against 24th seed Evans, who will surely provide a sterner test than Reedy on his ATP Masters debut.
Evans, 32, was given a first-round bye in the California desert and his Davis Cup teammates will compete against each other for the first time later this week.
Speaking of Evans, Draper said: “He’s a really good person and whenever I’ve had moments where I’m not feeling great, he’s always messaged me and I appreciate that from a senior player.
“He definitely doesn’t care, and the same goes for Murray and [Кемерона] Norrie – they kind of paved the way for me, they always supported me in training and gave me the confidence I needed to get to that level faster, so I’m very grateful to people like Dan.”