Spaniard David Ferrer's late push for a place in the ATP tour finals got off to a laboured start with a 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 win over compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez at the Valencia Open on Tuesday.
Earlier, top seed Andy Murray survived a second set wobble to kick off his title defence with a 6-3, 7-6 win over Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.
Ferrer, the world number eight, is fighting for one of three remaining places at the season-ending ATP Tour finals in London this month.
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Murray and Robin Soderling have qualified, while Ferrer and Mikhail Youzhny, both playing in Valencia, have a good chance of claiming berths.
Fourth seed Ferrer had to come back from a break down in the third set before prevailing in the cavernous clam-shaped Agora building in Valencia's modernistic 'City of Arts and Sciences.'
"The first game of a tournament is always harder than others because there is more pressure," Ferrer told the tournament website (www.valenciaopen500.com)
He will meet qualifier Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia in the second round.
Murray entered the tournament two weeks after beating Roger Federer in the Shanghai Masters final, but had problems on his backhand and trailed Lopez 4-1 in the second set.
After losing his serve, the world number four broke back and cruised through the tiebreak to win 7-1 to set up a meeting with Argentine Juan Monaco.
World number five Soderling swept past Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-1 6-4, and sixth-seed Nikolay Davydenko had a similarly easy ride, hammering wild card Javier Marti 6-2, 6-2.