Tim Henman had a nasty wobble on his way past unseeded Cyril Saulnier to the second round of the Australian Open.
Henman now plays Romanian Victor Hanescu
The seventh seed cruised to a two-set lead before Saulnier found his range.
The Frenchman opened the third set to ironic cheers of "Nice one Cyril" from the British fans - but took it at the first time of asking on Henman's serve.
Henman immediately got the double break to go 3-0 up in the fourth set, but lost his own serve twice before sealing the match 6-1 6-2 4-6 6-3.
Henman, who now plays Romanian Victor Hanescu in the second round, admitted he had let Saulnier back in to the match after playing two sets of "pretty much faultless tennis".
"I was being very aggressive, but very consistent, very few unforced errors, I was serving well," said the 30-year-old, who reached the semi-finals at the French Open and US Open last year.
"If anything, I perhaps needed to be a little bit more aggressive to continue to take the match to him.
"I didn't really make unforced errors, but I felt like I let him play his game a little bit. He just played one good game to break my serve at the end."
Henman had to come from two sets down to beat Saulnier in the first round at the French Open last year, but under the lights on Margaret Court Arena, he began in superb fashion, racing to a two-set lead in less than an hour.
Saulnier took advantage of some loose play from Henman to snatch the third set, and despite a run of five breaks of serve in a topsy-turvy fourth set, Henman finally closed things out in style, after some advice to relax from coach Paul Annacone.
"Up 3-0 (in the fourth set), I was just talking to Paul, and he said there wasn't a sense of inevitability.
"It was almost like I was saying to myself, which is right 'I've got the double break, I must now take advantage of that', instead of just saying, 'I'm playing great tennis. I played three great games, let's keep it going.' "
The Briton said his experiences at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows in 2004 could help him reach his potential in the season-opening grand slam event.
"I don't think it's satisfactory for my best to be (reaching the last) 16,"he said.
"I look at those matches I lost. I certainly had a good opportunity against (Chris) Woodruff and I lost to (Pat) Rafter in a terrible match.
"(But) I'd like to think this is a good opportunity to try and continue the sort of upward trend."