Andy Murray rallies from a double break down in the first set of his first-round clash against the Spanish sixth seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, winning 10 of the next 13 games to make it through to the second round of the Gijon Open in Spain

The three-time Grand Slam champion missed last week’s Astana Open through illness and made a slow start against his Spanish opponent but found his form to record an excellent 7-5 6-2 win at the ATP 250 event.

“In the first set he was playing much better than me,” said Murray after his one-hour, 44-minute win. “He had a lot of chances to get the second break of serve and I managed to stay tough in those moments. At the 4-3 game he played a bad game to give me the break back and after that I started to play a little bit better.

The 35-year-old former world number one will face either Argentina’s Pedro Cachin or Russian qualifier Alexey Vatutin next.

Gijon is one of the six one-year licensed tournaments taking place this season after the cancellation of the China leg of the ATP Tour because of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

Murray’s appearance in north-east Spain was his first on the tour since September’s Laver Cup in London, where he had lost both his singles and doubles matches.

Sitting 48th in the ATP rankings, Murray is targeting a strong end to the season to keep his ranking as high as possible, which should in theory allow him to get a better draw at the Australian Open, 2023’s first major.

Earlier on Tuesday, Marcos Giron upset home favourite and eighth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to set a second-round clash against Dominic Thiem. Giron reached his maiden ATP Tour final in San Diego at his most recent tour-level event and the American’s confidence showed on Tuesday — he hit 26 winners to his opponent’s 18 en route to a two-hour, four-minute win.

Nicolas Alvarez Varona and Manuel Guinard also advanced to the second round. Home favourite Alvarez Varona defeated fellow qualifier Marco Trungelliti 1-6, 6-3, 6-0, while Guinard progressed following Fabio Fognini’s retirement from the pair’s first-round clash. French qualifier Guinard led 4-6, 6-0, 2-0 when Fognini was forced to stop, and the 26-year-old will next face fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo.

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