It took the Spaniard over three hours to dispatch of his unseeded opponent, eventually running out a (4)6-7 6-3 6-4 6-2 winner to reach the next round at Roland Garros.
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The opening set was a topsy-turvy affair that swung both ways en route to a tie-break, with Monaco getting the first break but Ferrer responding immediately with one of his own in the very next game.
Neither player managed to hold their own serve in any of the last four games of the set, and that pattern continued into the tie-break as just four of the 11 points went with serve.
Monaco managed to account for three of those, however, which allowed him to clinch the breaker 7-4 and gain control of the match.
That did not last for too long, however, and the theme of breaking serve continued into the second set as the opening three games once again went against the head.
Ferrer finally ended the seven-game streak of breaks by holding to move into a 3-1 lead, and one further break in the final game of the set saw him level things up with a 6-3 triumph.
The 11th seed survived six break points in his opening two service games of the third set, before registering a break of his own to move into a 3-1 lead following a mammoth fourth game.
Monaco hit back immediately, but was again unable to hold onto his own serve and gave the initiative right back to his opponent in the very next game.
The Argentine did give himself hope by saving a set point and then breaking to pull the third set back to 4-5, but he was once again broken straight back as Ferrer moved to within one set of the third round.
The final set proved to be the most straightforward of the lot for the Spaniard as he held serve throughout, although it was another bruising one for both competitors as neither allowed the other an easy win.
Ultimately, though, a further two Ferrer breaks - making it 11 for the match - were enough to set up a third-round meeting with Feliciano Lopez as he goes in search of a maiden Grand Slam.