Federer has skipped the entirety of the clay-court season but not before making a remarkable start to the season, capturing Grand Slam No. 18 at the 2017 Australian Open before winning ATP 1000 masters events at Indian Wells and Key Biscayne.
It was Nadal's second straight win against the 23-year-old Austrian, coming two weeks after the Barcelona Open final when the Spaniard cruised to victory in straight sets.
In the second round, the Spaniard will meet the victor in the match between his compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut and Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Rafael Nadal vs Jack Sock Live Stream Rome Masters: Rafael Nadal having his time as good on the clay court in this season. "And that's what makes me happy", he said.
"I am happy with nearly everything, I am playing well".
On clay this season, no player has found the formula to get past Nadal.
"I am in amazement", said a near speechless Rafa.
■ Debate: Are the FFT right to refuse Maria Sharapova a wild card for the French Open?
He then held to go 3-0 up after the best rally of the set, somehow digging out a remarkable cross-court forehand and showing no signs of the physical problems that have impeded him in recent years. The Madrid Open was held in Spain from May 5-14 and won by Nadal, who defeated Thiem and grabbed his fifth title.
The world No. 1 took a title earlier in the year in Dubai.
"I'm not sure. I talk to Wimbledon organisers, but apparently they are keeping that grand slam on grass and have refused to play that tournament on clay".
The American will meet either defending champion Garbine Muguruza or Germany's Julia Georges in the quarter-finals. "I hope to do the same in Rome". "It's one of my favorite places on earth, so that's one of the reasons why I have always come here".
Japan's Kei Nishikori, the number seven seed, beat Spaniard David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 earlier in the day and will face Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in the last 16.
Former world number one Nadal also said that being at the top had no impact on a players' performance but tiredness could play a role. In the women's bracket, second seed Karolina Pliskova coasted past Lauren Davis into the third round.
1 dead, 2 hurt in serious crash in Anne Arundel Co
Lots of traffic, a auto just went the wrong way! It was also not known where Murphy had initially gotten on Route 50, police said. Investigators are also looking at signage on the roads and whether that had anything to do with Murphy's decision-making.
Tigers homer twice off Bundy, edge Orioles 6-5
Martinez now has five home runs in six games since returning from a almost eight-week stint on the disabled list on May 12. It wasn't a runaway game, but it was still a much-needed win in a season where the Tigers need all the Ws they can get.