The World No 2 with four titles this season — including two of the first three Masters 1000 honours of 2012 — came good on his hope of playing in Rome the week after winning in difficult conditions on and off court on the controversial slick blue clay of Madrid.
The Swiss third seed will next play Spanish veteran Juan Carlos Ferrero, champion here 11 years ago. Federer beat Ferrero in a 2003 semi-final in Rome.
Djoko, Murray win
Britain’s World No 4 Andy Murray celebrated his 25th birthday here on Tuesday with a hard fought 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 victory over veteran Argentinian David Nalbandian to reach the third round.
It took 2 hrs, 37 min for the Scot to prevail and he barely looked as if he had the energy to eat a slice of the birthday cake that was brought onto court.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic breezed through to the third round with a 6-3, 6-3 masterclass dished out to young Australian Bernard Tomic.