It took Rafael Nadal time to find his feet on the Wimbledon grass but he eventually saw off the challenge of the free-hitting Thomaz Bellucci.
The second-seeded Spaniard, fresh from a record seventh win at the French Open, is gunning for a third Wimbledon title in 2012 - one that would put him just four behind Roger Federer on 12 grand slams.
This win set him on the way to that but, despite the 7-6 (7/0) 6-2 6-3 nature of it, the 26-year-old has had easier first-round tests, especially in light of the first-set going over he was given.
Bellucci, ranked 80th in the world but with promise beyond that, took the game to Nadal with a positive approach that saw him break twice in succession to move 4-0 ahead.
Underpinning that was a vicious forehand that Nadal could barely get a racquet on, although once the man from Majorca did find some rhythm with two breaks of his own the outcome was rarely in doubt.
"I don't think I played my best match today. Especially in the first set, I was too nervous and didn't know what to do," he said.
"But I was able to keep winning the first set. That's the important thing and the good news. Then I started to play better. The second and third set I played better, even if I made mistakes.
"I felt in that moment I started to hit my forehand better. That's the most important thing for me. In the beginning I didn't start the best, but I finished well so I'm happy."
Former champion Lleyton Hewitt was unable to roll back the years as he was beaten in straight sets by fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round at Wimbledon.
Hewitt, the 2002 winner, has struggled increasingly with injuries over the past few years but returned to the circuit at the French Open after more than three months off and newly positive following a radical toe operation.
However, the Australian, now ranked 202nd in the world and the recipient of a wild card here, is short of matches having not won since a third-round victory over rising star Milos Raonic at the Australian Open in January.
Tsonga, who beat Roger Federer to reach the semi-finals here last year, was a hugely tough first-round opponent for Hewitt and in the end the 31-year-old was overpowered, losing 6-3 6-4 6-4.
Hewitt was given a boost after the match with the news he has been handed a wild card for the Olympics, but he revealed this could be his last regular Wimbledon appearance.
"I don't know," he said when asked whether he would be back. "At the moment I've been focusing on getting back this year, doing everything right with my foot and rehab to get back to here.
"So I'm proud of myself of what I've been able to do, all the hard work it's taken to get here. I'd like to be back here, absolutely, but we'll have to wait and see."
The Australian was reasonably happy with his performance - but found Tsonga just too tough, especially on serve.
"I didn't do a lot wrong really," said Hewitt. "Considering where I've come from, it's probably as good as I could have done today really. I felt the sharpest I've felt, but he served too well."
Tsonga hurt his finger during his defeat by Ivan Dodig at Queen's Club two weeks ago so was relieved to come through against such an experienced opponent.
He said: "I was a bit scared before this match because I didn't know how my finger would feel. But it was okay. It didn't hurt me too much. I played good tennis.
"It's never easy to play against a guy like Hewitt because when you go on court you know this guy played unbelievable matches here and is maybe able to play the same tennis.
"But for me it's better to play somebody like this because I have to stay focused. It makes me play good tennis and not to lose one or two sets. So it was great for me to play against Lleyton."
American Mardy Fish, back on Tour after a heart scare, saw off Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo in straight sets but did not attend his post-match press conference after feeling unwell, while Jarko Nieminen took four sets to get past Feliciano Lopez.
Alexandr Dolgopolov needed just three sets to see off Alex Bogomolov Jr , while Brian Baker, rebuilding his career after a five-year spell out injured, got better as he went along against Rui Machado, winning 7-6 (7/2) 6-4 6-0.
Like Monday, play was halted by the conditions again, with Andy Roddick one of those left to wait until Wednesday to complete his business.
The American was one set and a break up on Britain's Jamie Baker when the rain fell on Court One, while others were also affected.
David Ferrer was two sets up against Dustin Brown, while Milos Raonic stood a game away from beating Santiago Giraldo in straight sets.
Jurgen Melzer was sitting just a point away from beating Stanislas Wawrinka over five sets.