Rome: World number three Roger Federer admitted he was happy to have had a surprisingly easy match against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his opening contest at the clay Rome Masters here.
The record 16-time Grand Slam winner was rarely troubled by an out-of-sorts opponent in a comfortable 6-4, 6-2 victory.
And the Swiss master said he felt the evening conditions on Wednesday may have contributed to his easy ride.
"I definitely thought it was easier than I expected, I always expect a tough match with Jo.
"I knew the danger of his game, he can mix it up well, he serves well, maybe the conditions were a bit slow.”
"I was able to play a clean match from start to finish and I`m very pleased."
For Federer it was the continuation of the form he showed in Madrid, where he took world number one and clay king Rafael Nadal to three sets in the semi-finals.
"I`m happy to play three straight matches where I played well, even (againist Xavier) Malisse, that makes it four.”
"Ever since I played (Feliciano) Lopez I`ve been playing well and returning well with more aggression, like I wanted to."
But he warned that he won`t have things all his own way against Richard Gasquet in the next round.
"It depends on the start of the match. We know in best-of-three sets how you begin is the key," said Federer.
"If you win the first set you can maybe run away in the lead, I expect a tougher match because (against Tsonga) it was surprisingly easy.
"I had to mix it up and play well and it needs to be a similar performance (against Gasquet).”
"I need to be focused and smart in terms of my game plan. I`m excited to play Richard, he`s a great player and we had a good game in Dubai (where Federer won)."
Turning his attentions to his old rival Nadal, Federer insisted the Spaniard`s defeat to Novak Djokovic in the Madrid final last week will have no ill effects on him.
Nadal was all over the place in his first match in Rome, needing three sets to beat Italian qualifier and world number 148 Paolo Lorenzi.
"I don`t think it`s got much to do with doubts, he`s the defending champion here, he`s won so much on clay that one match doesn`t rattle him," said Federer.
"It`s more about transition. A one hour hit is not enough to feel quite right, it`s easy to struggle in the first round.”
"Lorenzi probably played a good match which people don`t give him credit for.”
"(Nadal) was able to win it and will probably play better in the next round."
It's incredible, amazing, I feel goofy.