Second seed Federer barely broke sweat as he saw off world number 35 Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-1 in under 55 minutes.
Federer said afterwards: “I thought Jeremy didn’t serve very well, and I felt good on the return.
“So I was in a lot of the service games when he was serving. Then I thought I served well, had a high first-serve percentage and was able to control the baseline. On clay, things move ahead very quickly, I must say.”
Next up for 33-year-old Federer will be Gael Monfils, who defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (8/6).
Federer holds an 8-3 head-tohead record against the Frenchman, but lost in straight sets in their most recent meeting this past November in the Davis Cup final.
Federer added on www.atpworldtour.com: “The preparation is different; instead of playing just one hour before a match on clay, this time I had ten days and I’m better prepared. I feel more confident than I was in Lille.
“Gael is such a player. He has capacities that other players don’t have, physically, also because of his power on the forehand and the backhand. It is a real challenge to play him. Often the problem is not on your own racquet against him.”
Nadal also progressed with little fuss in Monaco, taking just 68 minutes to beat wild card Lucas Pouille 6-2, 6-1.
The Spaniard told www.atpworldtour.com: “Today, I played solidly.
“Today, I played with no mistakes in a row. I played aggressively when I had to play aggressive. I hit some good passing shots than [in] the past couple of months. [It is] a thing that I haven’t been doing very well.
“I will go back to the hotel with [a] fantastic feeling, because I played probably the best match of the year for me… I played with the right mentality [and] the right concentration.”
Defending champion Stan Wawrinka got the defence of his title off to a winning start by beating Argentina’s Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-4.
Wawrinka said afterwards: “I think I played a great match
“It’s a tough first round to play Monaco, but it’s a typical clay-court match… playing from the baseline. Over the past two months, [I have had] real difficultly with my game [and] with my confidence. I was happy to come on clay again. The conditions are great here.”
The Swiss dropped just two points on his first serve but will expect a bigger test in his third-round clash with Grigor Dimitrov.
The Bulgarian ninth seed broke Italian Fabio Fognini once in each set to secure a 6-4, 6-4 victory.
“It was a pretty tight match, just one break in each set,” said Dimitrov. “He played quite well. All I could do was stay focused and composed. I’m just taking it match by match, considering I’ve not won that many this year. I’m working on my movement on court and on my shots.”
Roberto Bautista Agut, who turned 27 on Tuesday, emerged victorious from a gruelling three-setter against Philipp Kohlschreiber. The German world No 25 edged the first set on a tie-break but Bautista Agut bounced back to win 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) in two hours and 40 minutes.
Bautista Agut will next face sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
Tommy Robredo thrashed fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-1 while, in an all-French clash, tenth seed Gilles Simon was victorious against qualifier Benoit Paire 6-4, 7-5.
Simon was joined in the next round by compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who overcame David Goffin.
Tsonga, the 11th seed, set up a clash against Marin Cilic with a 6-3, 6-4 success.
In the day’s other games, fourth seed Milos Raonic came through 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) against Joao Sousa while American John Isner beat Viktor Troicki 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5) to secure a meeting with eight-times winner Nadal.