TOKYO - Fourth-seeded Mardy Fish of the United States defeated fellow American Ryan Harrison 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in their first-round match at the Japan Open on Monday.
Fish relied on his serve and volley game to outlast his compatriot in a battle that took 2 hours, 44 minutes at Ariake Colosseum.
Harrison put up a valiant fight, displaying a blistering forehand throughout the match, but leading 5-4 in the final set he saw Fish win his service game to level, then was broken in the next game.
Fish then closed out the win on serve with a forehand winner after Harrison had staved off two match points. Fish prevailed despite committing a high number of unforced errors in the contest.
Earlier, seventh-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic beat Somdev Devvarman of India 6-4, 6-3 in their first-round match.
Stepanek and Devvarman exchanged breaks in the first set before Stepanek broke the Indian again in the 10th game to take the set.
Devvarman broke Stepanek in the opening game of the second set and moved out to a 3-1 lead, but Stepanek then reeled off five straight games to take the match in 1 hour, 32 minutes.
Qualifier Matthew Ebden of Australia downed Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4 in the day's other first-round match.
Top seed Rafael Nadal, the defending champion in the $1.2 million event, will take on wild card Go Soeda of Japan in his first-round match on Tuesday.
Second seed Andy Murray of Great Britain will meet Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus also on Tuesday.