Francesca Schiavone, bidding to reach her third French Open final in three years, defeated Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3 6-1 in the first round on Tuesday.
The Italian, 2010 champion at Roland Garros and runner-up last year, was never severely tested by Date-Krumm, the third-oldest woman to play at the French in the professional era, at the age of 41.
Date-Krumm, who made her Roland Garros debut in 1989 and reached the last four in 1995, saved two breakpoints at 0-2 down in the second set but surrendered two more service games despite some occasional impressive shots.
Schiavone, seeded 14th, said she had felt nervous about stepping out on the Philippe Chatrier court again after losing last year's final to Li Na.
"Before going out I was really very tense because to play on the central court, to feel all you can feel on such a big court and to be here with you hopes and dreams is very difficult. But as soon as I came on, I started to breathe and to move," she said.
Schiavone paid tribute to Date-Krumm, saying: "I think Kimiko is a really fantastic athlete. It doesn't matter if she wins many matches or not, I think she is an example for everybody - she works a lot, she respects the other players.
"I think we have to learn many things from her," added Schiavone. "For me it's great to play against her."
The Italian will now play Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, who beat Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 3-6 6-0 6-3.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)