Sixth seed Elina Svitolina needed to work to earn a 6-2, 7-5 win over a local teenaged wild card ranked 1,111, with the Ukrainian reaching the second rorund of the French Open on Tuesday.
Oceane Babel, aged 17, gave good account of herself as she competed in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Svitolina, winner of five clay titles, has played three quarter-finals in Paris. She needed to regain control in the second set as Babel got away to a 5-2 lead before being broken twice by her experienced opponent.
The sun-soaked match was a joy for Svitolina: “I’m happy to play on the centre court in such nice weather, it was a joy to win today.”
The 26-year-old seed who won the junior event here in 2010, said she remembered her own teenaged nerves on court.
“I know how stressed I was when I was in her situation,” she said of Babel, “She made it tough on me in the second set, she was really going for her shots.”
Svitolina next plays Ann Li, who defeated Russian Margarita Gasparyan with the loss of just one game in their 46-minute first-round encounter.
The American winner was competing for the first time since a semi-final in Monterrey in March.