The 24-year-old was selected ahead of Chris Hoy, the 2008 Olympic champion in the event, as the number of riders in individual events is limited to one per nation.
Kenny, who won silver in China aged 20, received a first-round bye after setting an Olympic record of 9.713 in qualifying fastest, giving him a favourable draw for the one-versus-one match sprints.
Kenny met South Africa's Bernard Esterhuizen in the second round and progressed serenely.
The Briton made his move from high on the banking entering the final lap and was untroubled as he powered to a victory which saw him advance to tomorrow's best-of-three quarter-finals.
France's Gregory Bauge, who won the world title ahead of Kenny in Melbourne, was also a comfortable winner, beating Japan's Seiichiro Kakagawa by a considerable margin.
Shane Perkins progressed after the intervention of commissaires, who ruled the Australian had been impeded by Venezuela's Hersony Canelon.
There was a surprise in the fourth second-round heat as Njisane Nicholas Phillip of Trinidad beat Germany's Robert Forstemann.
Russia's Denis Dmitriev went through ahead of Malaysia's Awang Azizulhasni, with American Jimmy Watkins beating Pavel Keleman of the Czech Republic.
The losers were to be granted a second opportunity in the second-round repechage, with two of the six riders to advance to tomorrow's last eight.