- Internazionali BNL d'Italia
Djokovic dominates Montanes as Federer flies
The world No. 1 was down a break in the opening set against his Spanish opponent, but the Australian Open champion recovered to power his way to eight consecutive games en route to a straight sets win.
Djokovic, who has won the Rome Masters twice and has been in the final in four of the past five years, will be out to improve on his record this week following his shock last-32 exit to Grigor Dimitrov at the Madrid Open a week ago.
Out-of-sorts in that encounter, Djokovic struggled on his opening service game as Montanes was able to match the Serb early on. But the world No. 1 saved a break point and eventually held to move a game in front.
In the second game it was Djokovic who missed his opportunity to break, with the chances superbly saved by a couple of fine Montanes' forehands which clipped the lines.
Knowing his opponent had yet to find his rhythm, Montanes deservedly secured the first break to go 2-1 up. However, Djokovic put the pressure on immediately in the following game to reclaim the break and went 3-2 in front.
A second consecutive break enabled Djokovic to take the sixth game, and he brilliantly chased down a Montanes drop shot on his way to making it four games on the spin. And a wild forehand from Montanes handed the first set to Djokovic in 37 minutes.
The streak for Djokovic continued in the second set as he collected the opening three games to race into a 3-0 advantage. Montanes stopped the rot by sealing the fourth game, but Djokovic was not to be denied the victory as he went on to hold serve and book his place in the third round.
Wimbledon champion Federer needed only 50 minutes to reach the next round in his quest for a maiden Rome title. The record 17-time grand slam champion eased past wildcard Potito Starace 6-1 6-2, and the world No. 2 was on top of his game from the start as he hit an incredible 35 winners and only made eight unforced errors.
Sixth seed Tomas Berdych defeated Denis Istomin 6-4 6-0, while former US Open champion and this year's Indian Wells finalist Juan Martin Del Potro beat Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3 6-2.
Elsewhere, Dimitrov suffered a 6-4 6-4 defeat to Richard Gasquet and Mikhail Youzhny beat Tommy Haas 6-4 6-3, but 12th seed Nicolas Almagro was knocked out by Julien Benneteau 7-6(2) 6-4.
Runner-up to Rafael Nadal on Sunday in Madrid Stanislas Wawrinka came from a set down to also progress, with the Swiss No. 2 winning 5-7 6-3 6-3 against Carlos Berlocq.