The top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga needed two tiebreaks to overcome American Kevin Kim 7-6 7-6 to reach the Lyon Tennis Grand Prix second round.
The Frenchman never looked in danger of losing his serve as he fired 14 aces but only created two break points and wasted both in the second set.
The world number eight has nothing to gain in Lyon in the battle for the two places available in the season-ending World Tour Finals in London next month.
He has scored maximum points in that category of ATP 250 tournaments after wins in Marseille and Johannesburg this year.
He will next meet the winner of the match between French qualifier Vincent Millot and Belgium's Olivier Rochus.
Fellow local favourite Fabrice Santoro suffered an early exit.
The 36-year-old Frenchman lost 6-4 6-4 to Spaniard Albert Montanes in his last appearance in Lyon.
Each player had five break points during the match but while eighth-seeded Montanes broke early in each set, Santoro failed to convert any of them.
He hinted that he might extend his career to next year's Australian Open.
If he does make it to Melbourne in January, he would have played in a grand slam tournament in each of four consecutive decades.