Back on his favourite surface, Rafael Nadal showed no lingering effects of a recent injury as he breezed into the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters with a 6-1, 6-1 win against Roberto Bautista Agut.
Nadal was making his season debut on clay and playing his first match since suffering a knee injury at Indian Wells one month ago , but the defending champion looked sharp from the start and secured an early break of serve for 2-0.
Aside from having to save five break points across two games - at 0-40 down in the fourth game and at 15-40 in the sixth- Nadal was otherwise untroubled by his fellow Spaniard.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion converted his first match point when he met his opponent's strong forehand with a crisp volley at the net.
Nadal is looking to win the clay-court tournament for a record-extending 12th time and next plays Grigor Dimitrov, whom he has beaten 11 times in 12 matches.
Third-seeded Alexander Zverev, world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 10 Daniil Medvedev, and No. 13 Fabio Fognini also advanced to the third round Wednesday.
But Japanese world No. 5 Kei Nishikori, who lost to Nadal in last year's final, was beaten by Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-5 6-4.
Zverev won 6-1 6-4 against Felix Auger-Aliassime, breaking the 18-year-old Canadian's serve six times.
Tsitsipas beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 7-5 and next faces Medvedev.
The Russian beat Radu Albot 6-1 6-2, while Fognini had a walkover after Gilles Simon pulled out with a back injury and next takes on Zverev.
There were also second-round wins for Dimitrov, Taylor Fritz and Cameron Norrie.