Paris: Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo survived a first round scare at the Paris Masters on Tuesday before prevailing 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5) over Canada`s Vasek Pospisil.
Also at Bercy Arena, French hopes were badly dented when Shanghai Masters finalist and 15th seed Gilles Simon, crashed out in the second round against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.
The world number 33 broke in the final game to outlast Simon 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in 1hr 53min.
Former world number five Robredo was evidently still feeling the effects of reaching the final of the Valencia Open on Sunday where he was beaten by Andy Murray in the longest final of the year.
Now ranked 17 in the ATP rankings, the popular 32-year-old has reached three finals this season but lost them all as a 13th career title continues to elude him.
Pospisil, who came into the week ranked 54, rained down 13 aces against Robredo`s one, and led 4-2 in the third set before painfully falling at the final hurdle.
Robredo, who wasted five match points against Murray at Valencia in a match that lasted 3 hours 20mins, seized a 6-3 advantage in the decisive third set tie-break and squandered two of them before Pospisil hit long to end the match.
Robredo now plays Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori in the second round.
Simon, who lost to Roger Federer in the final of the Shanghai Masters last month, started brightly against Verdasco and broke in the opening game before holding serve for a 2-0 lead.
Verdasco broke back immediately and then levelled the match before Simon cracked at 4-3 down when he lost his serve for the second time.
The Spanish 30-year-old wasted no time in wrapping up the frame 6-3 converting his first set point to take the set in 32 minutes.
Simon, whose best result in Paris was a semi-final appearance in 2012, levelled the match at one set all by dominating the second frame 6-3.
It then came down to a nailbiting deciding set that went with serve until Verdasco went 5-4 up and Simon was serving to stay in the match.
The right-hander from Nice faced match point at 30-40 and after a marathon rally hit long as Verdasco claimed a morale-boosting victory and pounded his chest in celebration.
He will now play either former champion and last year`s finalist David Ferrer, or his second round opponent, Belgian talent David Goffin or Czech Republic`s Lukas Rosol.
Goffin and Rosol meet in their first round later on Tuesday with the winner to face Ferrer.
Earlier, Jeremy Chardy, who reached his second career semi-final at Valencia last week, edged compatriot and qualifier Kenny De Schepper 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (7/4) in a battle of Frenchmen.
Chardy`s reward is a second round match against Swiss legend Roger Federer who has a bye after winning his sixth Basel crown on Sunday and 82nd ATP tournament.
Finally, Uruguay`s Pablo Cuevas defeated Leonardo Mayer when the Argentine retired injured at 7-6, 1-0 down.