Nadal, Anderson through in Madrid
Rafael Nadal made a comfortable start to his quest for a third Madrid Masters title on Wednesday, while Kevin Anderson won a hard-fought battle with Juan Monaco to progress to the third round.
Nadal eased past Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4 and will next play Mikhail Youzhny for a place in the last eight after the unseeded Russian upset Nadal's compatriot Nicolas Almagro, the 11th seed, 7-6 4-6 6-2.
Nadal is on course for a possible meeting with David Ferrer, another fellow countryman, in the last eight after the fourth seed beat Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7-5 6-2 in the second round.
One break in each set was enough for Nadal as he overcame some impressive variety and touch shown by Paire early on to break when the world number 37 was serving at 2-3 down in the opening set, before eventually sealing it 6-3.
Paire had his only look at a break point on the Nadal serve early in the second set but couldn't take advantage, and in typical Nadal fashion he upped the pressure to break at 4-4 before serving out to book his place in the last 16.
Nadal insisted that it would be "arrogant" to consider himself the title favourite following the shock exit of world No 1 Novak Djokovic at the hands of Grigor Dmitrov on Tuesday.
"I'm not looking beyond the next round, it would be arrogant to do that so I am not going to do it," said Nadal.
This video is not available in your region
The seven-time French Open champion has compiled a 27-2 match record this year after missing seven months of with a knee injury.
That run has included trophies in Sao Paulo, Acapulco, Indian Wells and Barcelona.
South African Anderson needed almost two and a half hours to beat Argentine Monaco 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.
Last year's finalist and sixth seed Tomas Berdych stayed on course for a quarterfinal meeting with Andy Murray as he recovered from a set down against Jerzy Janowicz to win 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-2.
German 13th seed Tommy Haas, the champion in Munich last weekend, saw off Tommy Robredo 6-3, 7-5 while French seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Dutchman Robin Haase 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/1).
Japanese 14th seed Kei Nishikori will face Roger Federer in the third round after he beat Victor Troicki 7-5, 6-2.