Seventh seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez had to come from a set and a break down to see off Moscow wild-card Evgeny Donskov in the first round of the St Petersburg Open.
The Spaniard was broken in an opening game book-ended by double-faults and dropped his serve twice more as he lost the first set 6-2.
The second set began the same way as the first, Garcia-Lopez double-faulting to hand Donskoy a break, but he levelled at 3-3 and took the set 6-4.
He broke to lead 3-1 in the decider and completed a 2-6 6-4 6-3 win in two hours and 12 minutes.
World number 81 Flavio Cipolla beat Belarusian qualifier Andrei Vasilevski in successive tie-breaks.
The Italian was also pushed for over two hours by a player over 700 places lower in the world rankings but after one break apiece in the first set and two more each in the second, he prevailed 7-6 (7/4) 7-6 (8/6).
American Rajeev Ram eased past Germany's Matthias Bachinger 6-4 6-4 in the day's other match, breaking early to win the first set before recovering from 0-2 down in the second.