Rome:World number one Roger Federer easily progressed into the third round of the Rome Masters on Tuesday following a straight sets 6-3, 6-4 win over Nicolas Almagro of Spain.
Federer received a bye in the first round of the Rome Masters, so Almagro was his first opponent in the Italian capital.
The Swiss star had little trouble in disposing of his 40th ranked opponent.
Federer faced only one breakpoint and saved it midway through the first set.
He took the first set 6-3 and the second 6-4 to progress to the third round of an event in which he was beaten in last year's final by Rafael Nadal in a fifth-set tiebreaker.
Federer was also the losing finalist in 2003 to Felix Mantilla. However, the Swiss was pleased with his performance on Tuesday.
"Yeah I feel much better too now. Two weeks of hard practice, one tournament already in Monaco where I played tough matches, so I know the way I need to play.
"I still believe I can make less unforced errors - especially on the backhand side - but my serve I thought was more consistent today," said Federer.
2006 Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis is through to the second round following a win over the 2004 Rome champion Carlos Moya.
The Cypriot saved all eight of the breakpoints that he faced before going on to win 6-2, 6-3.
Ninth-seed James Blake of the US also survived his first round match.
The American eliminated Gael Monfils of France 7-6 (4), 6-3, and was pleased with his performance on clay.
"I was definitely not breezing through that second set. He made me work for it and I had to play good tennis to close it out, something I was really happy with and proud of.
"I played well, my first match over here on the European clay, which is sometimes tough to do for the Americans coming over here. But I am really happy with that performance," said Blake.
Blake is joined in the second round by former world number one Marat Safin.
The Russian overcame a shaky start before beating American qualifier Amer Delic 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Safin has never advanced past the third round in his seven previous appearances in Rome.
He next faces Davis Cup teammate and fourth-seed Nikolay Davydenko.
The eighth seed Ivan Ljubicic is out of the competition though.
The Croatian lost in straight sets - 6-4, 6-3 - to unseeded Jose Acasuso of Argentina in their second round match.
The 13th seed Richard Gasquet won his first round match against Fernando Verdasco of Spain, 6-1, 7-5, to progress.