Andy Murray was defeated by Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-4 on his return to singles action at the Cincinnati Masters.
The Scot, who was playing in his first competitive singles match since hip resurfacing surgery at the end of January, was broken in the first game of the encounter and struggled early on with his rhythm.
Murray then faced a break point to go 0-3 down in the first set but resolutely levelled it back at three games apiece.
Gasquet, who had surgery on a groin injury ten days before Murray, has been back since May and held his focus. He used the drop-shot to great effect to push back ahead in the first set and secured it in 44 minutes.
The returning Murray had won his last five meetings in a row against the Frenchman but again found himself broken at the start of the second set.
As the match wore on Murray grew in confidence and showed much greater fluidity in all aspects of his game. The Scot started to dictate more of the points and attacked the net with considerable purpose.