London, June 18: Second seed Kevin Anderson shook off some early rust to make a winning return to action at the Queen's Club Championships.
The South African had not played since his run to the quarter-finals in Miami in March because of an elbow injury.
A losing return in London looked a distinct possibility when he lost the first set to home hope Cameron Norrie.
But Anderson, a former Wimbledon and US Open finalist, made his class tell in the second and third set to complete a turnaround.
That was a very tough match to come back to! But I’m happy to be back and moving on at @QueensTennis. Also thanks again to everyone for your support and nice messages while I was away. It really means a lotpic.twitter.com/eSM2StRPoD— Kevin Anderson (@KAndersonATP) June 17, 2019
He sent down 19 aces and won 56 of his 60 first-serve points en route to a tight 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 win, which sets up a second-round clash with Gilles Simon, who needed a third-set tie-break to beat qualifier James Ward.
Defending champion Marin Cilic made relatively light work of Cristian Garin, prevailing 6-1 7-6 (7-5), and fourth seed Daniil Medvedev needed only an hour and 10 minutes to see off Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-4.
Elsewhere in the draw there were straight-sets wins for Diego Schwartzman and Nicolas Mahut over Alexander Bublik and Frances Tiafoe.