Andy Murray saved three match points and won a final-set tie-break to beat Lorenzo Sonego 4-6 6-1 7-6 (7-4) in the first round of the Qatar Open.
The Scot lost his opening service game to love as Sonego went on to claim the first set before Murray raced through the second to level the match.
Murray saved three break points when 4-5 down in the decider and then came from 3-0 down in the tie-break to win.
“It was really tough,” 35-year-old Murray told Amazon Prime.
“We’ve never played or practised against each other. I didn’t know exactly how the match was going to go and took a while to get used to his game.
“He’s a very aggressive player and takes a lot of chances, plays high-risk tennis.
“He rolled the dice at the end and it looked like he had the momentum and then, thankfully in the mid-part of that tie-break, he made a couple of mistakes and I managed to turn it around.”
Murray was playing his first match since being beaten by Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round of the Australian Open in January.
Sonego, 27, quickly took the initiative by taking the first game on Murray’s serve and the Italian went on to take the opening set without facing a break point.
Murray, who is 70th in the men’s rankings, quickly addressed that in the second set as he took it in dominant fashion against a player ranked one place lower than him.
Both players held their serve in the decider to take the match into a dramatic third-set tie-break, which Murray won to set up a second-round tie against Alexander Zverev.
“He [Zverev] was one of the top players in the world and had a bad injury at the French Open last year and is just coming back from that,” added Murray, who won in Doha in 2008 and 2009.
“He’s going to be improving every week just now. He’s not quite back at the level he was but injuries take time.
“Hopefully, I can keep building on this one.”