Nadal too good for Gimeno-Traver
Top seed Rafael Nadal reached a personal milestone while leading a clutch of Spaniards through to the second round of the ATP Tour Rio Open.
The world number one, playing his first match since losing the Australian Open final to Stanislas Wawrinka last month, marked the 800th match of his career by ousting countryman Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3 7-5.
Nadal did trail 2-0 in the second set but recovered the break in the third game. He broke Gimeno-Traver once again in the 11th game before serving out the victory.
"I'm happy to be back in competition," Nadal, who won in Costa do Sauipe in 2005 and last year in Sao Paulo, told atpworldtour.com.
"I had to face a player that's been playing for several weeks on clay courts. I have to improve some details, but I played better than I practised and that's positive.
"Latin America is very special for me, I feel like (I'm at) home. The people are great to me and it's a pleasure to be back in Brazil. I hope I can come more often."
The second seed, David Ferrer, followed Nadal into the next round by beating France's Jeremy Chardy 6-2 6-3 in little over an hour.
Albert Montanes and Albert Ramos furthered the Spanish cause with respective straight-sets wins over Robin Haase (6-1 7-6 (7/4) and Leonardo Mayer (6-2 6-0) while fourth seed Tommy Robredo edged out Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7/5) 6-3.
Pablo Andujar defeated Julian Reister of Germany 6-4 6-3 to become the sixth successful Spaniard on Tuesday but there was no such luck for Nicolas Almagro or Marcel Granollers.
Fifth seed Almagro went down 2-6 6-3 6-0 to Alexandr Dolgopolov while Joao Sousa ended sixth seed Granollers' tournament by clinching a 2-6 6-3 7-5 victory.
Also through to the last 16 of the men's draw are third seed Fabio Fognini, Pablo Cuevas and Juan Monaco.
Klara Zakopalova - the top seed in the women's competition - got the better of Mariana Duque-Marino, winning 6-4 6-4 to set up a meeting with Silvia Soler-Espinosa.
However, second seed Francesca Schiavone joined fourth seed Alexandra Cadantu and seventh seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in making an early exit.
The 2010 French Open-winning Italian became yet another victim of a Spanish player in Brazil as Lourdes Dominguez Lino rode out a 6-4 6-4 victory
Romania's Cadantu was off the boil when losing 6-3 6-4 to home hopeful Teliana Pereira while Czech player Zahlavova Strycova took her match against Dinah Pfizenmaier to a third set but slumped to a 2-6 6-4 6-3 loss.
Vania King was another fancied player who departed ahead of schedule, the American eighth seed suffering a 6-4 6-0 defeat to qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu.
Elsewhere, the unseeded trio of Chanelle Scheepers, Veronica Cepede Royg and Patricia Mayr-Achleitner made it through.