Rome, Italy – Fresh off his Masters title in Madrid last week, Roger Federer was an easy second-round winner, while five-time Rome titlist Rafael Nadal also landed in the win column Wednesday at the $3.145 million Italian Open -- the fifth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year.
The third-seeded former world No. 1 Federer, a two-time Rome runner-up, cruised past Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-4 in 69 minutes on the red clay at Foro Italico.
Federer moved up to No. 2 in the world on Monday after prevailing on the controversial blue clay surface last week in Spain for his ATP-record-tying 20th Masters title.
"I look at the big picture and what is important to me is just to be in the top 10 and if I am No. 2 or not at the French Open doesn't change anything, and it doesn't change anything for Rafa," Federer said. "That I was able to win Madrid was amazing, and that is what I look at right now -- not the rankings."
Federer's third-round opponent on Thursday will be fellow former world No. 1 and fellow former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2001 Italian Open titlist.
Meanwhile, the second-seeded world No. 3 Nadal handled German Florian Mayer 6-1, 7-5 on his beloved clay. The mighty Spaniard did not allow even one break-point chance on Wednesday.
The six-time French Open champion Nadal will face fellow countryman Marcel Granollers on Thursday.
Last week's Madrid Open runner-up to Federer, Tomas Berdych, blew past Poland's Lukasz Kubot 6-4, 6-1, while 10th-seeded Argentine star Juan Martin del Potro held his serve throughout in pasting former top-10 Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-2 on Day 4. The former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych is seeded seventh this week. The former U.S. Open champion del Potro was a clay-court champ in Estoril two weeks ago.
Del Potro will battle fifth-seeded French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday.
Swiss slugger Stanislas Wawrinka whipped eighth-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-1, while Italian Andreas Seppi pleased the home faithful with a come- from-behind 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 upset of ninth-seeded American John Isner. Seppi was a surprise clay-court titlist in Belgrade two weeks ago.
In some other second-round action involving seeds, No. 13 Frenchman Gilles Simon snuck past Spanish qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 2-6, 6-4; No. 12 Spaniard Nicolas Almagro dismissed American qualifier Sam Querrey, 7-5, 6-2; No. 14 Argentine Juan Monaco drilled Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-2; and No. 16 Frenchman Richard Gasquet erased Italian wild card Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-2. Monaco is rewarded with a match against current world No. 1 and reigning Italian Open champion Novak Djokovic, while Gasquet will take on fourth-seeded British star Andy Murray in the round of 16.
The two-time Italian Open champion Djokovic beat Nadal in last year's finale here. It was Nadal's first loss in his sixth Rome final.
Another second-round result saw the aforementioned Granollers straight-set wild card and Italian favorite Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4 amid windy conditions.
The 2012 Rome champ will earn $595,000.