Murray failed to break serve
once in the first two sets as he was taken to a decider by Marc Gicquel, who was then forced to retire with a thigh injury when 3-0 down in the third set.
The world No 1 pounced on the first show of weakness from his 18-year-old opponent - by five days the second youngest player in the draw - two unforced errors in the sixth game allowing him to break serve
with a superb backhand passing shot.
With the duel locked at 3-3, the home favourite passed up a golden chance to break serve
and allowed Djokovic to hit back from 0-40 to hold.
Novak was the first to break serve
when he took a 2-1 lead in the opening set, but the Briton had the chance to break back immediately with some deft volleying.
Rusedski, though, lost his rhythm in the third set, allowing the Frenchman to break serve
twice and race into a two-setsto-one lead in the match by winning the set 6-1.
Radek had to receive treatment on his elbow midway through the fourth set but both players only managed to break serve
once in three hours and 34 minutes.
But a run of four straight games put Murray in a degree of trouble, and he had to break serve
to force the tie-break.