Defending champion Garbine Muguruza moved safely into round two of the French Open but the home nation nearly lost its great hope on only the second day of the tournament.
Muguruza, who was in woeful form in the run-up to Roland Garros, outclassed Italian Schiavone 6-2 6-4, while home favourite Kristina Mladenovic survived an epic battle against American Jennifer Brady lasting just under three hours.
The fourth seed will meet Estonia's Anett Kontaveit for a place in round three.
The champion then broke decisively for 5-4.
"I have a different spirit here, I'm going to fight for every ball to try and win", said Muguruza, who defeated Serena Williams in last year's final.
What might appear to be hemming and hawing is actually a ideal reflection of Schiavone's personality, whether conveyed via Italian or English: She does not see the world in black and white; she sees all sorts of colours - and shades, too. If it were not Roland Garros, I wouldn't have walked into the courts today.
Raonic took just 92 minutes to beat the 38th-ranked Darcis 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 - taking the final game to love.
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Spain's Muguruza, who has been in mediocre form on clay this season, could face the embarrassment of becoming only the second defending champion since Anastasia Myskina in 2005 to lose in the women's first round.
The fourth seed admitted Schiavone's surprise 2010 final victory over Sam Stosur was a fond memory.
Muguruza observed that Schiavone "loves it. out there" on court, so a reporter wanted to know whether Schiavone has always loved tennis as much as she seems to these days.
"Like today - going out there, trying to deal with things - that's what brings me confidence, not remembering how I played previous year".
It was a similar story early in the second set with the world number two returning everything Granollers tried to throw at him as he went 4-1 up before a wobble saw him fail to convert eight set points at 5-3. Schiavone saved three match points before her forehand volley went wide.
Midway through the first set, Muguruza took command reeling off 12 consecutive points to close out the set.
"I'm happy that I managed to be composed out there, because I wasn't sure how I was going to react again on the centre court, playing against an ex-champ". She was runner-up in 2012, and subsequently made the semis and two quarters, though she fell at the first hurdle past year. It's wonderful. It's something very special that if you love the sport you can do it. Parisian boys and girls will get the chance to see some of the game biggest stars this year, with Rafael Nadal later scheduled to resume his quest for a 10th title in Paris against Robin Haase.