Defending champion Kei Nishikori extended his unbeaten run at the Barcelona Open to 11 matches with a comfortable 6-4, 6-2 win over the Netherlands’ Thiemo de Bakker on Wednesday.
The Japanese needed just over an hour to dispose of the world number 102 as he broke in the first game of each set and held serve throughout to win his first match of the season on clay.
Nishikori, who also won in the title in the Catalan capital in 2014, will face French 13th seed Jeremy Chardy in the last 16 on Thursday.
Top seed Rafael Nadal starts his quest for a ninth title in Barcelona later on Wednesday when he faces fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers.
Nadal could face his conqueror from last year’s US Open, Italian Fabio Fognini, in the quarter-finals after he won just his fourth match of the season 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny.
German teenage sensation Alexander Zverev is also into the third round after edging past 15th seed Thomaz Belluci 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-5.