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BANGKOK, Thailand -- Top seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia needed almost two hours to repulse a spirited challenge from Spaniard Fernando Vicente before winning 6-3 3-6 6-4 in the first round of the Thailand Open.
Ljubicic, seeking a third ATP win this season, sealed the first set with some impressive service games.
But he then allowed Vicente to creep back into the match and force a marathon third set, which the Croat eventually won after breaking clear at 4-4.
"I was pleased with the way I played, but being number one means you really don't want to go out early," said Ljubicic.
"He was a good player, but I play better in tournaments when I have tough opposition at the start."
Former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero made an early exit from the competition after he was beaten 4-6 6-2 6-4 by German Mischa Zverev.
Sixth-seed Ferrero dominated the first set with some powerful returns from the baseline, but the 196-ranked German answered back in the second, disrupting the Spaniard's rhythm and forcing him into a string of errors.
The 19-year-old broke Ferrero's serve in the seventh game of the final set and clung on for the second ATP tour win of his career.
"This is my biggest win by far," a delighted Zverev told reporters. "I destroyed his game by playing serve and volley. It ruined his rhythm and didn't let him play and it worked in the end."
Ferrero expressed frustration at his first round defeat and admitted he lacked the strength to tie up the match in the second set.
"I was playing good, I gave him a good game, but in the second set I just didn't play good tennis," he said. "He was almost impossible to break."
In Tuesday's early first round matches, seventh seed Robby Ginepri went through to the next stage after defeating Denmark's Kenneth Carlsen 6-3 6-4.
"I played the best I have in a long while," Ginepri told reporters. "I took some time off after the U.S. Open and I've worked particularly hard coming into this."
Britain's Alex Bogdanovic beat Yeu-Tzuoo Wang of Taiwan 6-7 6-4 6-4, while Russia's Mikhail Ledovskikh advanced to the second round after defeating Sweden's Michael Ryderstedt 6-1 7-6 (9-7).
Canada's Frank Dancevic saw off German Lars Burgsmuller 7-5 3-6 7-6 (9-7) to go through, while Germany's Benjamin Becker defeated Brazil's Marcos Daniel 6-3 6-2.
Second seed Marcos Baghdatis was forced to withdraw from the competition on Tuesday after injuring his shoulder in practice.
The Cypriot, who won his first career ATP title in Beijing nine days ago, could be sidelined for up to three weeks.
"It's how life goes," he said. "I'm disappointed because I'm lucky in Asia and it's where I play best."
Australia's Lleyton Hewitt withdrew on Sunday after aggravating a knee injury.
Ljubicic took nearly two hours to struggle into the second round in Thailand.