Novak Djokovic showed glimpses of frailty along with his usual ruthless streak when he moved into the second round of the French Open with a 7-6(5) 6-4 7-5 win over Belgium's David Goffin on Tuesday.
Paris's unseasonable downpours kept the world number one off court for most of the day but, after emerging into the early evening gloom, he encountered a talented shot-maker on the other side of the net.
"He is a good player with a lot of talent," Djokovic, chasing the only major title missing from his collection, said on court after swatting away a forehand winner on match point.
"I hope to continue like that. I wanted to finish this evening, but I think the crowd wanted more. It was an extraordinary atmosphere."
Djokovic came through the first set tie-break thanks in part to the raucous Parisian crowd, whose efforts to inspire his young opponent with an ill-timed shout of "Allez David" at 5-5 on his second serve caused the world number 58 to double fault.
With the nerves clearly jangling, Goffin then netted a backhand to hand first blood to the Serb.
Djokovic, who is bidding to become only the eighth player to win the career grand slam, broke for the first time in the third game of the second set but there was a battling quality about Goffin who refused to lie down frequently pushing the Serb on to the back foot.
He had a break point in the third before succumbing to the six-times grand slam winner and then walking off court to rapturous applause from the French crowd.