The fourth-seeded Czech, who cruised to a straight-sets win in the first round, got by Albert Montanes, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Novak, who has reached semifinals in Halle and Auckland this season, next will take on Italian qualifier Potito Starace.
Last year, Novak disappointed the local fans as he beat Swiss superstar Roger Federer in the final here.
Federer, who won his second straight Wimbledon crown Sunday, takes on hard-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic on Thursday in the second round.
Starace, who entered this tournament with a 2-3 career record in ATP events, defeated Romanian Victor Hanescu, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-1).