Former world No.1 Andy Murray began his European Open campaign with a battling 6-4 7-6(4) victory over unseeded Belgian Kimmer Coppejans in Antwerp on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old Scot, who is continuing his comeback after having career-saving hip resurfacing surgery in January, was stretched by the wildcard in the second set but ultimately held his nerve.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray trailed 3-1 in the second set, and 3-1 in the subsequent tiebreak, before prevailing in one hour and 44 minutes.
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He won 75 per cent of points on his first serve and converted four out of six break points to overcome his opponent, who is ranked No.158, for his first ATP level victory in Europe for 16 months.
Up next for Murray is either eighth seed Pablo Cuevas or Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien, who meet in the first round on Wednesday.
Murray, who won his first ATP Tour matches since his surgery during the Asian swing and reached the quarterfinals of the China Open.
Earlier this month he was ranked outside the top 500 but now stands to rise to No.224 with his latest victory — and higher if he can progress further in the Antwerp draw.
He is hoping to regain full match fitness before he makes his much-anticipated Grand Slam return at next year’s Australian Open.
In other results, South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo earlier rallied past Frenchman Richard Gasquet 1-6 6-3 6-4 while Feliciano Lopez beat Cameron Norrie 7-6(2) 6-4.
Also advancing were Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, France’s Gilles Simon and Italy’s Jannik Sinner.
Sinner, an 18-year-old wildcard verging on the top 100, next plays No.1 seed Gael Monfils.
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