Raducanu is the reigning US Open champion but has struggled to recreate the success of her incredible Flushing Meadows run in 2021.
Playing in the spotlight, the 19-year-old was 8-11 for the year heading to the All England Club, where she enjoyed a breakout campaign last year.
Despite the support of a home British crowd, Raducanu might have hoped for a more straightforward opener, but she navigated a tough test against Alison Van Uytvanck to win 6-4 6-4.
"It's an incredibly special feeling to be coming back here at Wimbledon," Raducanu said on court. "I could feel the support the minute I walked out of those doors and walking around the grounds.
"I wanted to say thank you to everyone who's been here supporting, through the tough times as well – it's all worth it to play on Centre Court and especially to come through with a win."
Raducanu, who had withdrawn from her previous appearance at the Nottingham Open earlier this month with a side injury, withstood early pressure as the first six games stayed on serve.
However, a streak of 10 consecutive points and three straight games going against the serve altered the pattern of the match completely – ultimately in Raducanu's favour, as she broke first then responded to a break to love with one of her own.
That was just enough to settle the opener, and Raducanu went in pursuit of a swift conclusion to the second, but Van Uytvanck instead made the breakthrough.
This time, however, it was Raducanu's turn to respond immediately, and she came on strong to win the match on Van Uytvanck's serve and jump for joy.
"I'm just so happy to stay another day," she added, with Caroline Garcia up next.