The 28-year-old Frenchman, who reached the quarter-finals of last year’s US Open, made easy work of the first set against the German qualifier but then faced a real battle in the second before eventually winning through 6-1 7-6 (14/12).
Earlier on Tuesday, 21-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem claimed a straight-sets victory over Joao Sousa of Portugal as he triumphed 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 in an hour and 50 minutes.
French wildcard Benoit Paire took advantage of compatriot Paul-Henri Mathieu’s retirement after 35 minutes to set up a second-round match against second seed Stan Wawrinka.
The 25-year-old progressed after losing the first set 6-4 to the former world number 12 as he seeks the first title of his career.
In another all-French clash Jeremy Chardy bounced back after losing the first set as he fired 10 aces to see off qualifier David Guez with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory in the second match on Court Central.
Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov also fought back after going down 6-3 in the opening set before winning the next two 6-4 6-2 against Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan in an hour and 54 minutes.
Robin Haase of Holland suffered a 4-6 6-3 6-4 defeat against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil, who set up a second-round clash with fourth seed Roberto Bautista.
Also, Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff held on to record a hard-fought 6-1 6-7 (6/8) 7-6 (7/1) victory over French qualifier Nicolas Mahut in just over two hours.