Albert Costa of Spain put on a resilient display against Argentina's Mariano Zabaleta to advance to the second round of the Paris Masters.
The former French Open champion took two hours 27 minutes to see off his opponent 6-7(4) 6-4 7-5.
Costa, seeking his first title of the year, broke Zabaleta at 5-5 in the third set before serving out the match.
The 2002 Roland Garros winner next faces Madrid Masters runner-up Nicolas Massu of Chile.
In other opening round matches, Britain's Tim Henman advanced with a 6-3 6-4 win over Nikolay Davydenko of Russia.
But Robby Ginepri slipped to a surprise defeat against Slovak qualifier Karol
Beck, losing 7-6 6-4.
Beck goes on to face Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan in the second round.
Hicham Arazi of Morocco beat France's Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5 6-4 while another Frenchman, Gregory Carraz, fought back to beat Radek Stepanek 2-6 6-2 7-6.