6th seed Spaniard David Ferrer won his opening match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome as he defeated his countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-3 7-6 (3) and moved into the third round.
Ferrer, who beat Verdasco in both of their previous matches this year (in Auckland semis and Acapulco final), dominated the baseline rallies throughout the first set.
World no.16 Verdasco put up a much bigger fight in the second set, but it was only enough for him to force a tiebreak, in which Ferrer stepped up a gear and showed his dominance once more.
Ferrer is a former runner-up here at the Foro Italico, having lost to Nadal in the 2010 final.
In the remaining first round matches, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez won another battle of the Spaniards as he overcame Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-1 and set up a second round encounter against the winner of the match between American Donald Young and the 11th seed Gilles Simon of France.
Also through to round 2 is the 16th seed Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who beat Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-1 7-6 (6).
Three breaks of serve were more than enough for this year’s finalist Gasquet to clinch the match in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Gasquet will face Italy’s wild card holder Paolo Lorenzi, who eliminated Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko 6-3 2-6 6-3 in yesterday’s first round.
15th seed Feliciano Lopez is out after losing in straight sets 6-4 6-4 to fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers.