MONTE CARLO, Monaco - World number one Rafael Nadal started his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo Masters title with a 6-1, 6-3 second-round victory over Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene on Wednesday.
The 16-time Grand Slam winner, like Novak Djokovic, is looking for a record 31st Masters title, and will take on big-hitting Russian Karen Khachanov in the last 16.
Nadal brought up set point in the opener with a trademark, curling forehand up the line, before sealing the set with a drop shot.
Bedene managed to keep the second set on serve for six games, but Nadal broke to lead 4-3 and wrapped up a comfortable victory in the Monaco sunshine with another break as Bedene hit a forehand into the net.
He remains on course for a possible quarter-final showdown with Djokovic, who earlier needed 10 match points to see off Borna Coric.
Wednesday's Monte Carlo Masters results (x denotes seeding):
Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-1, 6-3
Novak Djokovic (SRB x9) bt Borna Coric (CRO) 7-6 (7/2), 7-5
Karen Khachanov (RUS) bt Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-2, 6-2
Kei Nishikori (JPN) bt Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 7-5, 6-2
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x11) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x13) 6-4, 6-2
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bt Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP x15) 6-4, 6-2
Richard Gasquet (FRA) bt Diego Schwartzman (ARG x10) 6-2, 6-1
Milos Raonic (CAN x14) bt Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Andreas Seppi (ITA) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5