Rafael Nadal started his Internazionali d'Italia campaign with a classy 6-3 6-3 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber to set up an intriguing third-round clash with Nick Kyrgios.
Fifth seed Nadal has been back to his best on the red surface this season, the 'King of Clay' winning tournaments in Barcelona and Monte Carlo, while he was knocked out in the last four of the Madrid Open by Andy Murray last week.
On paper Kohlschreiber - victor at the BMW Open this month - provided a stern challenge, and the German certainly played his part in an entertaining contest in the Italian capital.
But it was Nadal's talent that shone through and he continues to build momentum ahead of the upcoming French Open, where he is bidding to become a 10-time champion.
Kohlschreiber matched Nadal, a seven-time champion in Rome, for much of the first set with both players serving well.
However, a couple of sloppy errors from Kohlschreiber in game eight presented Nadal with three break points, the second of which was taken with a brilliant backhand down the line.
The Spaniard saved break point to wrap up the first set, and Nadal wasted a pair of break points in game one of the second set.
Seemingly in his groove, Nadal's awesome backhand once again proved a trusty weapon as another down the line proved too hot for Kohlschreiber and brought up a 3-2 break.
Kohlschreiber continued to fight, though, and a brilliant forehand return saw him break straight back to level the set at 3-3.
A marathon game seven followed in which both men played some scintillating tennis, but once again Nadal stole ahead with a clinical two-handed backhand.
This time it was a lead Nadal would not relinquish, and he fought back from 0-40 down to win the match in game nine, a miscued forehand from Kohlschreiber bringing an end to proceedings.
Next up is the enigmatic Kyrgios, who saw off Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to reach round three.