Mardy Fish returned to competitive tennis for the first time this year with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win over Bobby Reynolds at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday.
''It's been a tough few months, for sure. You sort of feel like it was a win just to go back out there,'' said Fish, who had not played since last September because of a heart condition. ''There's a lot of people that have sort of dealt with what I've dealt with and not come back. It's nice to just play, first and foremost, and then you get out there and you want to win.''
U.S. Open champion Andy Murray had a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 second-round win over Evgeny Donskoy. In earlier men's matches, Marinko Matosevic of Australia upset No. 14 Juan Monaco of Argentina 7-5, 6-0; Bjorn Phau of Germany beat No. 25 Jeremy Chardy of France 6-2, 2-6, 6-4; No. 12 Marin Cilic of Croatia overcame Albert Ramos of Spain 7-6 (7), 6-2; and Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan beat No. 26 Martin Klizan of Croatia, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).
In third-round women's matches, sixth-seeded Sara Errani of Italy beat Johanna Larsson of Sweden 6-3, 6-1; No. 13 Maria Kirilenko of Russia beat American qualifier Mallory Burdette 6-3, 4-6, 6-2; and No. 19 Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic had a 6-4, 7-5 win over No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.
Fish, a former top 10 player, played an exhibition match last week and started in doubles at Indian Wells before his singles match with Reynolds.
''You want to stay within yourself a little bit and not get too fired up or too low or too high or anything like that. Then all of a sudden you find yourself in the third set, you know, deep in the third set losing (4-2), and some of that sort of fight starts kicking in and you want to win.
''I certainly didn't expect to win so soon. The tennis side of it hasn't been an issue. I have been playing for quite a while now, as far as months are concerned, but just competitive matches, you can't duplicate those.''
Fish lost only three points in the winning the final four games.
He hasn't disclosed the precise nature of his problem because ''it's not something that's very easy to talk about.''
''I'm going to play Miami (next week),'' he said, ''and then I'm going to assess it after that. Maybe step back and see how I feel, where I am personally, see after these two weeks if it's something I can still do at a high level. That will certainly be a question I'll ask. Hopefully I'll resume sort of a normal schedule, but we'll see.''