Rafael Nadal passes German exam

Rafael Nadal overcame a tricky second-round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber to maintain his challenge at the Rome Masters.

The world number three and defending champion was on top form as he motored to a 6-1 6-3 win over the plucky German.

Nadal, returning from a week off on the back of his Monte Carlo triumph, was dominant on serve, winning 86 per cent of first-serve points, while breaking twice as Kohlschreiber failed to show the form which embarrassed Andy Murray in Monaco.

The German made a better fist of things in the second set but, after staying with Nadal until 3-3, the Spanish southpaw went through the gears, breaking at 4-3, and again to seal the match.

Romanian Victor Hanescu awaits Nadal in round three after he overcame 16th seed Juan Monaco the previous day.

Fifth seed Robin Soderling was also largely untroubled as he beat local wild card Paolo Lorenzi 6-1 7-5.

Fresh from reaching the final in Barcelona last week, the Swede, runner-up at Roland Garros last year, needed just 74 minutes to progress.

There was disappointment for Lleyton Hewitt as he slumped to a 6-2 6-3 defeat at the hands of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

There were also straight-sets wins for Filippo Volandri and Santiago Giraldo, over Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra.

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