Canadian Milos Raonic defeated Russian Igor Andreev 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday to reach the third round at the Barcelona Open.
The 11th seed from Thornhill, Ont., who often trains in the Catalan capital during the season, advances to meet sixth-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro on Thursday.
Almagro was a 2011 semifinalist at the real Club de Tenis. But Raonic beat him in a January semifinal en route to the Chennai title.
Raonic, currently ranked 25th in the world, dispatched the 82nd-ranked Andreev in challenging, windy conditions that restricted his ace count to a modest five during the 75-minute match.
The Canadian, who trained much of last week after losing to Spaniard Albert Montanes in the first round at Monte Carlo, improved his 2012 ATP record to 18-4. He has two titles to his credit already in 2012.
Raonic's record against Andreev stands at 2-1 after his second clay win against the Russian.
Rafael Nadal overcame a sore knee to open his bid for a seventh Barcelona title with an easy 6-1, 6-2 win over Guillermo Garcia Lopez in the second round.
Nadal had a bye in the first round after defeating Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters final on Sunday and said his left knee "hurts a bit, but that's normal ... there's no problem."
Fellow Spaniard David Ferrer also advanced to the third round with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Serbian wild card Filip Krajinovic.\, while Japan's Kei Nishikori overcame Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
Seventh-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain also reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Italy's Flavio Cipolla and will face Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, who won 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 over Eduardo Schwank of Argentina.
Kevin Anderson of South Africa, Albert Ramos of Spain and Santiago Giraldo of Colombia also advanced.