Vienna, Oct 10: Top seed Novak Djokovic made a faltering start to his first ATP match in a month, beating America's Robby Ginepri 6-3 6-4 in the first round of the Vienna Open.
The world number three, who has not played on the tour since his September 9 US Open final defeat by Roger Federer, dropped serve three times in the Austrian capital before finally booking his place in the second round.
Fortunately for Djokovic, the American world number 70 fared even worse on his own serve, failing to hold a single game during the opening set.
A further break of Ginepri's serve at the start of the second set was enough to see the Serb through.
Djokovic will next face Czech lucky loser Tomas Zib who upset Germany's Florian Mayer 6-1 6-4 earlier in the day.
Former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero also booked a place in the second round at the expense of fifth seed Guillermo Canas.
Exacting revenge for a second round defeat at this year's Miami Masters Series, the Spaniard came from 5-2 down in the third set to beat his Argentine opponent 3-6 6-3 7-6.
Canas's defeat, combined with the early exit on Monday of sixth seed Carlos Moya and the late withdrawal of France's Richard Gasquet leaves Chile's Fernando Gonzalez as the only remaining seed in the bottom half of the draw.
Croatian third seed Ivan Ljubicic resumes his bid for a third successive Vienna Open title today when he takes on American world number 39 Mardy Fish.
Fish, who beat Ljubicic in the first round of this year's Australian Open, came from a set down yesterday to see off Spain's Nicolas Almagro 6-7 6-2 6-4.