Defending champion Andrey Rublev was able to find another gear to get through his first-round match at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday, beating Filip Krajinovic 7-5 6-2.
The number two seed got off to a rocky start, finding himself 5-2 down in the first set before dramatically turning the tide, winning five straight games.
Rublev's first serve percentage improved from 49 to 58 in the second set as he stepped up his game against his Serbian opponent.
"Filip is one of my good friends, and we always have tough battles," Rublev said after his win. "So, today I was going on court thinking that it was going to be a really tough match, and when he started the way he did, I didn't know what to do because he was playing so good.
Defending champion off the mark @AndreyRublev97 opens his title tilt 7-5, 6-2 over Krajinovic @DDFTennis | #DDFTennis pic.twitter.com/ulVNte7wYr— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 27, 2023
"Somehow I calmed myself and said 'OK, restart at the bottom and raise my level', and I started to play much, much better. I was able to turn the match around and finish the match in a good way."
He will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round after the Spaniard took just 52 minutes to beat Malek Jaziri 6-2 6-0, converting all five of his break points as he strolled to victory.
Seventh seed Alexander Zverev had to come from behind to beat Jiri Lehecka 4-6 6-3 6-4, while Tallon Griekspoor set up a second-round clash with top seed Novak Djokovic after the Dutchman beat Constant Lestienne 6-4 3-6 6-2.