Fish given tough test in Tokyo
Fourth seed Mardy Fish beat American compatriot Ryan Harrison 6-4 3-6 7-5 to reach the second round of the Japan Open.
Top seed and defending champion Rafa Nadal and Britain's Andy Murray lead a strong field at the $1.34 million tournament on Tokyo Bay but neither were involved on the opening day.
Fish won the opening set 6-4 with a solitary break of serve proving sufficient as he stamped his authority on proceedings.
But the 19-year-old qualifier refused to be dictated to by his countryman and responded with an impressive performance in the second to take it 6-3.
A tight and cagey third set ensued and the scores were level at 5-5 as both players traded blows from the back of the court.
But it was Fish who stepped up his intensity to claim the crucial and decisive break of serve to close out the match which began in sunshine and finished under floodlights lasting two hours and 44 minutes.
Fish will next face either the prodigious Canadian Milos Raonic or Yuichi Sugita of Japan in the second round.
Radek Stepanek enjoyed easier progress in his first round match against Somdev Devvarman of India.
The Czech won through in straight sets, 6-4 6-3 to secure his progression through to the second round.
Devvarman could never get a foothold in the match, and Stepanek simply had too much quality.
The seventh seed will next face Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland who beat Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1 4-6 6-4.
Meanwhile, Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden beat Spain's Pablo Andujar 6-7 6-4 6-4.
Spaniard Nadal kicks off his defence against Japanese wildcard Go Soeda on Tuesday, while Murray will be given an extra rest day before he faces Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus after the Briton won the Thailand Open in Bangkok at the weekend.