Gstaad, Switzerland: Last year`s finalist Robin Haase had to fight through an extended case of first-match nerves to advance over Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3 on another rainy day at the Swiss Open on Tuesday.
The Dutchman, who lost the final a year ago on the Bernese alpine clay to Russian Mikhail Youzhny, failed to close out his win in two sets against the 99th-ranked Nedovyesov who beat him in the spring at Casablanca.
Haase led a set and 5-4 when he was broken, with Kazakh Nedovyesov winning a tiebreaker to take the contest into a deciding set.
The seventh seed found his game just in time, though, breaking for 3-1 to earn the edge for eventual victory.
Haase admitted that his case of early-match nerves lasted much longer than expected as he finally advanced in just under two hours in a contest played in mid-teens temperatures and occasional drizzle.
"It`s normal to have some nerves but they usually go away in the first few games," said world number 51 Haase, winner of two career titles. "In the first and second sets I was playing with nerves.
"It was only in the third set that I relaxed for the first time. I was feeling a lot of pressure, I had finalist points to defend from last year, and I`ve not been playing that well on clay.
"I`ve had some good matches but I lost them. I can only look ahead to the next round. There are no certain (easy) matches any more."
Haase, whose two titles came on clay in Kitzbuehel in 2011 and 2012, won his 12th match of the season and improved to 5-1 at Gstaad.
A pair of players quit matches, with sixth seed Giles Simon falling vcitim to illness and stopping while trailing 6-2, 3-2 against Pablo Andujar.
German Jan-Leonard Struff was leading 6-2, 1-0 when Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer retired from their first-round match with a left adductor strain.
Swiss wild card Yann Marti finished off a match halted on Monday, beating Daniel Gimeno-Traver 5-7, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/5).
Two-time champion Thomaz Bellucci began his quest for a hat-trick as he beat Austrian qualifier Gerald Melzer, brother of Jurgen Melzer, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and a quarter.
Kenny De Schepper of France beat Italy`s Filippo Volandri 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) while Blaz Rola of Slovenia stopped Brazilian qualifier Fabiano De Paula 6-4, 6-4.