Stockholm:Two-time defending champion James Blake rallied from a set down and a 4-2 deficit in the second set to outlast Jonas Bjorkman in the first round of the Stockholm Open.
The top-seeded American won 6-7 (3) 7-5 6-3 on the Royal Tennis Hall's hardcourt, extending his unbeaten record in the Swedish capital to 11-0 since 2005.
After splitting the first two sets, Blake took command in the decider when he broke the 35-year-old Swede to lead 4-3 after a soft cross-court forehand passing shot on his first break point.
Blake broke Bjorkman again in the last game on Tuesday to clinch the match after a forehand winner down the line.
"It was a very difficult match," Blake said. "Jonas played great and put a lot of pressure on me, especially early obviously. He fights for every point.
"I got down a break in the second, but made sure not to hang my head at all. In the third set, I felt I could have taken advantage early, then kind of waited and did not get down of myself at all after losing a couple of break-point opportunities."
Bjorkman did not have a break point in the third set.
In the second round, Blake will face either qualifier Peter Wessels or Frank Dancevic.