The 2nd seed and the eight-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal is safely through to the third round, beating Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-1 in 67 minutes. This was the third win for Rafa over Jeremy in as many matches, playing against each other for the first time since Cincinnati 2015 in a one-sided battle that was always on Nadal's racquet.
The 57th triumph in Rome for Rafa came after a rock-solid performance on both serve and return, dropping ten points behind the initial shot and fending off the only break points he faced to keep the pressure on Chardy's side of the net.
The Frenchman was far from that pace, struggling on both the first and second serve and losing 60% of the points in his games, offering Nadal seven break points and giving serve away five times to propel the defending champion into the third round where he will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in some five hours.
Taming his shots nicely, Nadal hit 13 winners and 11 unforced errors, leaving Jeremy on ten winners and almost 30 mistakes, having the edge in the shortest and mid-range exchanges to seal the deal in no time at all and save energy for the upcoming clash.
The Spaniard held at love in the opening game of the match and grabbed five straight points on the return in game two for an early break that gave him the momentum, securing another one in game four when Chardy netted a backhand to extend the advantage.
Serving to stay in the set at 0-5, Chardy got broken again after a beautiful backhand down the line winner from Nadal who wrapped up the first part of the match in 26 minutes, hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter.
Struggling to find the rhythm or range for his strokes, the Frenchman gave serve away again in the second game of the second set when his forehand landed long, falling 5-1 down after a forehand winner from Nadal who crossed the finish line with a hold at 15 in game seven.