Andy Murray beat Florian Mayer for his 400th career win to advance through to the third round of the Madrid Open.
The world No 3, who appeared to be suffering from a back problem, was handed a testing claycourt examination from his German opponent before coming through 7-6 7-6.
Murray saved five set points during a lengthy opening set tie-break, but eventually came through it 13-11, before completing the job with a much easier second set tie-break to set up a meeting against Frenchman Gilles Simon.
Murray, who spent a lot of his time on the practice courts after crashing out of the Monte Carlo Masters to Stanislas Wawrinka last month, appeared to be on his game early on.
The Dunblane-born player was happy to entertain the crowd with a fine array of groundstrokes with slices, drives, shots up the line and instinctive reflex shots.
However, his opponent remained resolute, saving three break points as the opener went to a tie-break in which Murray eventually came through after one hour and eight minutes of action.
Mayer's profligacy gifted Murray his chance after wasting five set points and the Scot gratefully accepted his opportunity at the second time of asking with a forehand winner.
There was not much for Murray to smile about in the second set however as his exertions in the tie-break seemed to take the wind out of him.
Murray, who will turn 26 next week, was broken on his opening service game to love, as the world No 26 took charge with some ruthless serving and heavy groundstrokes.
But the British No 1 was soon back in the contest and back on serve as he threaded a fine backhand down the line at 15-40 before holding for 4-4 in the next.
The Scot pressured the Mayer serve in the 11th game, but the 29-year-old saved two break points before successfully holding as the match went to another tie-break.
This time, however, Murray learned his lessons from the opening set and took charge from the very start opening up a 6-3 lead before landing a double handed backhand winner down the line to come through in just over two hours of action.