PARIS: Fourth seed Andy Murray's first round match at Roland Garros, as expected, proved to be a humdinger. The out-of-form Scot was pushed all the way by unseeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet, the champion at Nice last week, before prevailing 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 on Monday.
Earlier, top seed and defending champion Roger Federer began his campaign 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over Australia's Peter Luczak.
Women's top seed Serena Williams, chasing a 13th major, also made the second round with a 7-6(2), 6-2 win over Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele.
The result was a repeat of Murray's epic victory over Gasquet in the last 16 at Wimbledon in 2008.
Murray will now play unseeded Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in round two.
Gasquet, who needed treatment on his left thigh as the match wore on, warmed the crowd with some early demonstrations of his sumptuous shot-making here, forcing Murray to save three break points in his second service game.
The fans were treated to some magnificent rallies in the first set and it was Murray who blinked first beneath the blazing Paris sun. Gasquet earned a set point with a sweeping crosscourt backhand and the Scot handed him the set on a plate by slamming a simple volley into the net.
Murray was forced to play with his back to the wall in a tight and gripping second set and after saving a set point in the 12th game he was undone in the subsequent tie-break as Gasquet established a two-set lead.
The World No.4 hauled himself back into the match by claiming a cagey third set before taking the fourth set in the face of little resistance from his adversary.
Gasquet was flagging and Murray strengthened his grip on the match when a sublime sliced drop-shot and a wayward Gasquet backhand brought him a break of serve and a 3-1 lead in the deciding set.
The two 23-year-olds were poles apart in the final games — Murray full of fizz and Gasquet increasingly listless, and the Frenchman stood motionless as Murray fired the match-winning ace past him.
Federer, who completed a career Grand Slam by winning his first Roland Garros crown here in 2009, will face Colombia's Alejandro Falla for a place in the last 32.
The Swiss star was barely troubled by the 71st-ranked Luczak, who has never won a match at Roland Garros in four attempts.
Despite the win, Federer, playing in his 42nd successive Grand Slam, refused to look forward to a fourth final here against Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
“He's in great form, but I'm just looking at my draw. The final hasn't happened yet,” said Federer, who has yet to win a clay court title this season.
Men's third seed Novak Djokovic, recently laid low by an allergy, overcame a second set blip to beat Kazakhstan's Evgeny Korolev 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Tommy Robredo, seeded 21, lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to Viktor Troicki while 27th seed Feliciano Lopez fell to German qualifier Julian Reister.
Caroline Wozniackireeled off the first seven games of the match before clinching a 6-0, 6-3 win over Russian World No. 78 Alla Kudryavtseva.
( Prefix denotes seeding)
First round: Men: 1-Roger Federer bt Peter Luczak 6-4, 6-1, 6-2; Julian Reister bt 27-Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 7-6(5), 6-2; 20-Stanislas Wawrinka bt Jan Hajek 6-1, 6-3, 6-3; Daniel Gimeno-Traver bt Dmitry Tursunov 6-1, 6-1, 6-1; 17-John Isner bt Andrey Golubev 6-4, 6-3, 6-2; 15-Tomas Berdych bt Jorge Aguilar 7-6(7), 6-3, 6-1; Olivier Rochus bt Benont Paire 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-5; Andreas Beck bt Paolo Lorenzi 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; Taylor Dent bt Nicolas Lapentti 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3); Lukas Lacko bt Michael Yani 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 12-10; 3-Novak Djokovic bt Evgeny Korolev 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3; Pablo Andujar bt Simone Bolelli 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-2; Leonardo Mayer bt Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-2; Marcel Granollers bt Paul-Henri Mathieu 3-6, 6-3, 3-0 retired; 25-Marcos Baghdatis bt Jesse Witten 6-3, 6-4, 6-3; Carsten Ball bt Philipp Petzschner 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-5, 9-7; 8-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bt Daniel Brands 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(2), 7-5.
13-Gael Monfils bt Dieter Kindlmann 6-3, 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-2; 4-Andy Murray bt Richard Gasquet 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2, 6-1; 24-Thomaz Bellucci bt Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-2, 6-2; 12-Fernando Gonzalez bt Thiago Alves 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Yuri Schukin bt Rajeev Ram 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4; Kei Nishikori bt Santiago Giraldo 2-6, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-2, 6-4; Viktor Troicki bt 21-Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
Women: 1-Serena Williams bt Stefanie Voegele 7-6(2), 6-2; Julia Gverges bt Melinda Czink 6-2, 6-3; 8-Agnieszka Radwanska bt Elena Baltacha 6-0, 7-5; 17-Francesca Schiavone bt Regina Kulikova 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Sophie Ferguson bt Petra Kvitova 1-6, 6-2, 6-2; Stiphanie Cohen-Aloro bt Stephanie Dubois 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-3; 11-Na Li bt Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-3; Roberta Vinci bt Virginie Razzano 7-5, 6-2; Polona Hercog bt Misaki Doi 6-3, 6-0; 24-Lucie Safarova bt Jelena Dokic 6-2, 6-2; Timea Bacsinszky bt Tatjana Malek 6-2, 6-3 Tathiana Garbin bt Kristina Barrois 1-6, 7-6(7), 6-3; 3-Caroline Wozniacki bt Alla Kudryavtseva 6-0, 6-3; 5-Elena Dementieva bt Petra Martic 6-1, 6-1; Anabel Medina Garrigues bt Melanie Oudin 7-5, 6-2; Aleksandra Wozniak bt Iveta Benesova 6-3, 6-3; 32-Kateryna Bondarenko bt Julie Coin 6-1, 6-2; Arantxa Parra bt Kurumi Nara 6-2, 6-2; Nadia Petrova bt Zhang Shuai 6-0, 6-3. Ana Ivanovic bt Kai-Chen Chang 6-3, 6-3 .