Fernando Verdasco put the bottom half of the draw at the Open Sud de France on notice with a 6-2 6-1 win over Gregoire Barrere in Tuesday's first-round action.
The eighth seed won 86 per cent of first-serve points against the local lucky loser to storm into the second round in 54 minutes.
Daniil Medvedev awaits the Spaniard after a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) win over Tobias Kamke.
A finalist in Montpellier in 2013, Benoit Paire began his latest tilt at the title with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Karen Khachanov.
Ilya Marchenko beat Quentin Halys 6-4 6-4, while Britain's Aljaz Bedene defeated the highly rated Borna Coric 7-5 4-6 6-1 to set up a second-round meeting with fourth seed Alexander Zverev.
Zverev lost to Steve Darcis on Sunday as Belgium beat Germany 4-1 in the Davis Cup and Darcis was once again in form as he beat another German, Maximilian Marterer, 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in the Sofia Open.
Seeded pair Gilles Muller (5) and Martin Klizan (8) won in straight sets against Mathias Bourgue and Andrey Kuznetsov respectively, as did veteran Russian Mikhail Youzhny, who will meet the former in round two.
Robin Haase (6-4 6-3 against Dimitar Kuzmanov) and qualifier Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (2-6 6-0 6-1 over Teymuraz Gabashvili) were the other winners on Tuesday.