Kafelnikov, the 1999 winner here, improved to 7-3 this year. He was beaten in the semifinals at the Marseille Open by Thomas Enqvist.
Fourth-seeded Sebastien Grosjean of France also advanced with a a hard-fought 7-6 (12-10), 7-6 (7-5) victory over Rotterdam native Raemon Sluiter.
Reigning Australian Open champion and fifth seed Thomas Johansson was successful in his opening match as he disposed of Hicham Arazi of Morocco, 6-4, 6-4.
In other first-round matches, Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia outlasted Jan Siemerink of the Netherlands, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (9-7); and Spaniard Tommy Robredo got by Russian Mikhail Youzhny, 6-2, 6-4.