Casper Ruud had to break back against a feisty French opponent on Wednesday to win his opening match at the ATP Barcelona Open, with the weekend Monte Carlo finalist going past  Alexandre Muller 6-3, 6-4.

The this-seeded Norwegian, who lost the final on Sunday in the principality to Stefanos Tsitsipas, was on track in the Catalan capital to serve out victory over his 110th-ranked opponent.

But Muller broke as the Scandinavian served for victory, which required Ruud to break back a game later to secure his place in the third round.

He notched his ATP-leading 25th victory of the season, level with world No. 2 Jannik Sinner.

 “It was a strange ending,” Ruud said after breaking six times from 16 chances.

“It was a tricky match for sure, there was not much time to adjust from Monte Carlo but at least here we are using the same ball as last week.

“I’m happy to get the win – that’s the most important thing.”

Ruud ended with 28 winners while his opponent had 32 unforced errors.

“The clay is a bit different here, nothing to complain about,” Ruud said. “It’s a bit more lively, more bouncy; you can feel small difference here and there.”