Andy Murray admits he was given a tough examination by Spaniard Ivan Navarro as the defending champion edged into the third round of the AEGON-sponsored Championships with a 7-6 6-3 victory at Queen's.
The world number four was pushed all the way by Navarro's serve-and-volley performance, particularly in an opening set which he eventually won 7-6 (10/8).
The 28-year-old Spaniard took every opportunity to charge to the net but Murray, sporting a strapping on his right knee, produced some wonderful shots to finally eclipse his opponent.
The Scot will now play either American Mardy Fish or Santiago Giraldo of Colombia in the third round.
"It was a tough first match," said Murray. "He served very, very well in the first set.
"I didn't return particularly well. It was tricky play and not what you expect from a Spaniard, coming forward on every point. It was good.
"It's nice to see someone serve and volley. I haven't played a serve-and-volleyer this year. This is the first time, so it was tricky and he did it very well.
"But I started returning well and had some good passing shots. You know, that's what grass court tennis is like. Quick reactions, quick reflexes."
Murray clinched the title last year to become the first British winner since 1938 and he did so without losing a set.
He came close to blotting that copybook in the first-set tie-break, despite having led 4-1. Navarro fought back and earned set point with a superb low volley at 5-4, but the British number one levelled with a vicious cross-court forehand.
Murray finally ended the opening set with a 10-8 success thanks to a cross-court double-handed backhand on the world number 108's serve.
"I played a sort of sharp slice and he came forward," added Murray. "It was just kind of instant. He was covering the line and I got a good hit on it.
"I saw a lot of the players slipping the first couple of days in the matches I was watching. I thought I moved pretty well. It didn't feel too slippery to me. I hit the ball well from back of the court once I got into the rallies."
Murray immediately seized the initiative in the first game of the second set, breaking Navarro's serve for the first time when the Spaniard overhit a volley at the net.
With confidence surging, Murray closed out his first service game for a 2-0 lead.
Murray eventually wrapped up the win in the ninth game when he was presented two match points, converting at the second attempt with a quality forehand service return.Reuse content