In the lone second-round contest Wednesday, Bohdan Ulihrach of the Czech Republic stunned third seed Marat Safin of Russia, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Escude avenged his loss to Ferrero in their only previous meeting. The Spaniard dismissed the Frenchman in straight sets on the way to finishing as the runner-up at the 2000 Barcelona claycourt event.
A finalist at last week's Marseille Open, Escude has jumped up to 11th in the 2002 ATP Champions Race with his strong start to the year. He also reached the semifinals at the Milan Indoor, falling to eventual champion Davide Sanguinetti.
Escude will face Spain's Tommy Robredo in the second round on Thursday.
Swiss star Roger Federer was the only seeded player to post a victory Wednesday. The seventh seed rolled over Dutch wild-card entrant John Van Lottum in the first round, 6-3, 6-4. He will meet Thomas Enqvist of Sweden in the next round.
The winner of last week's Marseille Open, Enqvist recorded his sixth straight ATP Tour victory with a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Andrei Pavel of Romania.
Greg Rusedski also endured a first-round setback at Rotterdam. Arnaud Clement of France outdueled Rusedski, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). The Frenchman looks for his first quarterfinal berth of the year when he takes on Australian Open champion and fifth seed Thomas Johanson of Sweden.
In other action Wednesday, Max Mirnyi of Belarus recorded a 6-3, 6-2 first-round win over Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic. Mirnyi will meet Swiss qualifier Ivo Heuberger in the second round.