Roger Federer ultimately eased into round two of the Australian Open on Monday, after shrugging off a second-set wobble against fellow veteran Jurgen Melzer.
Former world number one Federer is in the unfamiliar position of being seeded a distant 17th at Melbourne Park, following an injury-plagued 2016 that saw him miss the French Open, US Open and the Olympics.
The 35-year-old Swiss made a shaky start on Rod Laver Arena and, after edging the opener, threw away a 3-1 lead to lose the second set.
However, the challenge of Melzer faded swiftly thereafter as his illustrious opponent - who has claimed four of his 17 grand slam singles titles in Melbourne - completed a 7-5 3-6 6-2 6-2 victory to book a second-round meeting with another qualifier, American Noah Rubin.
"First rounds are never easy for anyone, so I'm just happy I live another day," said Federer in an on-court interview.
Both players were guilty of regular unforced errors early on, but Federer raised his level after being broken to fall 4-2 behind.
A sloppy service game from Melzer saw the Austrian immediately give up his advantage and Federer soon broke again - with the aid of a glorious forehand winner on the run - before wrapping up the opening set with a clinical love hold.
After forging ahead at the start of set two, the four-time champion surprisingly allowed Melzer back into the match - losing five games in succession amid a flurry of mistakes.
Yet normal service was soon resumed and Federer was barely challenged for the remainder of the match as he completed the victory in two hours and five minutes.
Federer  bt Melzer 7-5 3-6 6-2 6-2
Federer - 46/36
Melzer - 26/35
Federer - 19
Melzer - 4
BREAK POINTS WON
Federer - 7/9
Melzer - 3/4
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Federer - 64
Melzer - 75
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Federer - 77/54
Melzer - 57/54
Federer - 120
Melzer - 94