Andy Murray staged an encouraging recovery from his miserable Chinese stint with a lengthy win over Yannick Hanfmann at the Swiss Indoors in Basel.
The 36-year-old’s 7-5 6-4 win snapped a three-match losing streak in consecutive tournaments but he was forced to fight against the German world number 51.
Murray clawed through some marathon opening exchanges to wrest the advantage but was almost pushed into a decider by Hanfmann, who threatened the Scot’s serve throughout.
The German briefly delayed Murray by converting his eighth break point of the match when he served for the match at 5-3, but Murray immediately responded in kind to seal his place in the next stage.
Murray said in his on-court interview: “I’m happy to come through. He’s had a brilliant year and he’s been playing very well, so it’s a good result.
“It was tough. The first four or five games were something like 45 minutes. I don’t remember having that really before, it was ridiculous.”
Murray is making only his third career appearance at the event, having lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round in 2022.
Murray lost in the second round in Zhuhai before successive exits at the first hurdle in Beijing and Shanghai to Alex de Minaur and Roman Safiullin respectively.
At the Vienna Open, Dan Evans was forced to retire from his first-round clash with Frances Tiafoe due to a calf injury.
Evans was 4-1 up in the opening set when he pulled up behind the baseline, with Tiafoe progressing to the second round.
British number one Cameron Norrie was given a tough time by Austria’s world number 169 Filip Misolic before edging into round two.
Norrie had to scrap through a tight first-set tie-break and was hauled back in the second set by the plucky home favourite before battling through 7-6 (7) 4-6 6-3.
Like Murray, Norrie was recovering from a fruitless swing to Asia having fallen at the first stage in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as last week’s Japan Open in Tokyo.
Heather Watson fell in the first round of the Abierto Tampico event in Mexico, losing in three sets to Ann Li.
Watson won the first set 6-4, but the American – ranked 50 places below Watson at 156 – raced through the second 6-1 and took the decider 6-3.