(Recasts after Nadal win, adds Federer quotes)
April 16 (Reuters) - Claycourt machine Rafael Nadal recovered from a stuttering start to beat Russian qualifier Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-4 6-1 and reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday.
The world number one, whose eight-year reign in the principality ended last year, conceded an early break but eventually proved too much to handle for Gabashvili on centre court.
Nadal, who is on a 29-match winning streak on clay, fell 2-0 down but the Spaniard levelled in the sixth game by breaking to love.
The contest effectively ended there as Gabashvili failed to keep pace with the powerful left-hander.
Earlier, former world number one Roger Federer barely broke sweat as he breezed into the third round with a 6-1 6-2 thrashing of Czech Radek Stepanek.
The Swiss, who has a record 17 grand slam titles, will face another Czech, Lukas Rosol, after dismissing the experienced Stepanek in less than an hour on the Monte Carlo Country Club's clay.
Fourth-seeded Federer, back in the principality for the first time since 2011, saved two break points and claimed his opponent's serve four times in a quick master class.
"I had a good start to both sets, then I was solid on my own service games. The next thing you know, you're in the lead and you can hit freely," said Federer.
"It was clearly a good match to start my claycourt campaign."
Earlier, eighth seed Milos Raonic of Canada was made to work to overcome South Korea's Yen-hsun Lu 6-7(4) 6-2 6-1.
Swiss third seed and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka will face big-serving Croatian Marin Cilic.
(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Stephen Wood)
- Sports & Recreation
- Teymuraz Gabashvili