Sam Querrey returned to the scene of his greatest tennis moment as he began his Wimbledon campaign with a 7-6 (5), 7-5, 6-2 victory over Italy's Thomas Fabbiano.
The 24th seed, who stunned then world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round last year on his way to the quarterfinals, struggled through two sets before pulling away in the third.
Querrey takes opening set in tiebreak
Both players had chances to break early on. Querrey squandered a break point in the second game while Fabbiano wasted three points in the third game.
Finally, the Italian made the initial breakthrough in the fifth game. Holding a 0-40 lead, Querrey saved the first break point, but some big Fabbiano forehands clinched the break on the next point.
He remained in front until he had to serve out the set. At 5-4, Querrey was able to break back and the set would go to a tiebreak.
The American raced out to a quick 2-0 lead and eventually would expand his advantage to 6-3. Fabbiano saved two set points, but on the third, an overhead putaway clinched the opening set for the 24th seed.
American edges past Fabbiano for two set lead
The world number 91 again took the early lead at 2-0 only to see Querrey peg him back straightaway. Each man had additional break points in the next games, but were unable to convert.
In the tenth game, Querrey saved a set point and that turned out to be the turning point as the 24th seed broke in the very next game, a crosscourt backhand sealing a 6-5 lead.
Serving for the set, the American raced out to a 40-0 lead, but Fabbiano would save all three set points. Finally, at the fourth time of asking, Querrey closed out the set to put him on the brink of victory.
Querrey runs away with third set
Querrey held a 15-40 lead on Fabbiano's serve to open the third set. After saving the first break point, he was unable to escape the second after a forehand exchange that saw the Italian net his and the American was now in front.
Clearly dispirited from the blown leads in the first two set, the Italian was broken for a second time, giving Querrey a 4-1 lead. Serving for the match, last year's quarterfinalist faced 30-30, but an ace and a Fabbiano error closed the door on a hard-fought win.
By the numbers
Querrey had 14 aces, was efficient in winning 77% of his first serve polints and converted five of his 12 break points. Conversely, Fabbiano was just 2 of 10 on break opportunities while winning just 49% of his second serve points.