Auckland - Marcos Baghdatis shrugged off injury concerns to reach the second round of the ATP Auckland Classic with a tough straight sets win over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino on Tuesday.
The eighth-seeded Cypriot showed no sign of an ankle injury that forced him to retire from last week's Qatar Open, moving freely in his 6-4, 6-4 win at the Australian Open warm-up tournament in New Zealand.
But the world number 36, a former Australian Open finalist, struggled with a misfiring serve, going down a break to Mannarino early in the first set.
He immediately broke back and the pair went toe-to-toe, with Mannarino fending off one set point during a 41-shot rally but eventually succumbing.
Baghdatis said it was good preparation for the season-opening Grand Slam in Melbourne.
"I was solid through the baseline, I think I could improve on my serve a bit," he said.
Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun beat rising star Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (11/9) in a rollercoaster match that saw the world No 61 squander four match points before finally downing the towering Russian.
Lu said he refused to be intimidated and stayed on the attack, even when facing two match points in the third-set tie-breaker.
"If I had the chance I just tried to go aggressive... I know he's a tough guy and I tried my best. I'm happy to go through," said Lu, who reached the only final of his 16- year career in Auckland three years ago.
Fifth-seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas crashed out in a straight sets defeat to Joao Sousa of Portugal.
With the tournament's top four seeds given a bye into the second round, Ramos- Vinolas was the higest-ranked player on display in the opening round.
But he failed to perform as Sousa ran away with the first set 6-1, then snuffed out a Ramos-Vinolas comeback to take the second 7-5.
"I played a great match, happy to be in the second round here finally," said Sousa, who has fallen at the first hurdle in Auckland twice previously.
Australian-born Briton Brydan Klein battled through to a 6-1, 6-7 (6/7), 7-6 (7/3) win over Argentina's Facundo Bagnis, while American qualifier Ryan Harrison breezed past Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 6-2.
New Zealand's last local hope Artem Sitak lost to France's Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-2.
Results from day two of the ATP Auckland Classic tournament on Tuesday (X denotes seed):
Joao Sousa (POR) bt Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP x5) 6-1, 7-5
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP x8) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-4, 6-4
Ryan Harrison (USA) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 6-1, 6-2
Brydan Klein (GBR) bt Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 6-1, 6-7 (6/7), 7-6 (7/3)
Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS) 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (11/9)
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) bt Artem Sitak (NZL) 6-4, 6-2