Novak Djokovic produced a dominant display to thrash Alexandr Dolgopolov and reach the second round of the Rome Masters.
The four-time champion at the Foro Italico is building up his form and confidence ahead of this month’s French Open and looked impressive against his unpredictable opponent in a 6-1 6-3 victory.
Djokovic has struggled to recover since his return from a six-month lay-off over a long-standing wrist injury, but could enjoy a good run in the Italian capital thanks to a favourable draw with Nikoloz Basilashvili or Filippo Baldi waiting in the second round.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion lost to British No 1 Kyle Edmund in the Madrid Masters second round last week, but the Serbian never looked likely to lose back-to-back matches as he broke Dolgopolov in the opening game of the match.
Two further break of serves enabled the 30-year-old to wrap up the first set in 20 minutes before Djokovic continued to keep the pressure on his opponent, who was broken twice more, as the former world No 1 celebrated victory after 55 minutes.
Kei Nishikori recorded a hard-fought 7-6(7-5) 6-4 victory over Feliciano Lopez to book a second-round tussle with third-seed Grigor Dimitrov, who received a bye through the first round.
Feliciano Lopez demonstrated some incredible spin to win a rally against Kei Nishikori in Rome
David Goffin, seeded ninth, made short shrift of the challenge from Leonardo Mayer as the Belgian raced to a 6-1 6-2 against the Argentinean and will next face either Italian wildcard Marco Cecchinato or Pablo Cuevas.
Former British player Aljaz Bedene secured an accomplished 6-4 6-4 win over veteran Gilles Muller to reach a second-round encounter with big-hitting South African Kevin Anderson.
Spanish 10th-seed Pablo Carreno Busta was made to sweat as American Jared Donaldson forced the three-time winner on tour to a deciding set before easing over the finishing line for a 6-4 3-6 6-0 success.
The Masters 1000 Series continues with our coverage of the ATP Italian Open on Sky Sports Arena throughout the week. Check TV schedules for times.
Live ATP Tennis
May 15, 2018, 10:00am
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass
Keep up to date with the latest on www.skysports.com/tennis with news, previews, live blogs, reports and expert analysis. On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation.
Never miss the big kick-off or have to deal with interrupted games or low quality streams with a NOW TV Sky Sports Pass. You’ll get exclusive coverage of the Premier League, Sky Bet EFL, EFL Cup and loads more starting from just £7.99. No contract.