Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moved a step closer to securing his place at the ATP World Tour Finals after opening his BNP Paribas Masters campaign with a nervy three-set victory over Julien Benneteau.
The world No.8 is chasing one of the two remaining spots up for grabs at London's end-of-season showpiece and ensured he remains on track to reach the O2 Arena with an unconvincing 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7/2) win over his French compatriot on Tuesday.
Tsonga, runner-up at the Palais Omnisports last year and a winner back in 2008, did not have things all his own way in the first set and was forced to stave off five break points whilst breaking twice himself.
Benneteau had won the two previous indoor hardcourt meetings between the players and took the match into a deciding set after breaking Tsonga twice in the second.
Tsonga failed to serve out the match when leading 5-3 in the third, but the sixth seed showed his class in the tie-breaker to prevail into round three.
Also on Tuesday, unheralded Polish player Jerzy Janowicz continued his dream run in Paris with a shock 7-6 (8/6) 6-2 victory over 13th seed Maric Cilic, a win which ends the Croat's faint hopes of reaching London next week.
Fifth seed Tomas Berdych rounded off the day's action with a 7-6 (8/6) 6-2 triumph over Andreas Seppi and is joined in round three by fellow seeds Stanislas Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori.