ROME - Rafa Nadal produced an "almost perfect" display as he booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters with a 6-4 6-4 victory over John Isner on Thursday.
The fourth seed, who has struggled to find his best form this season in the wake of the wrist injury and appendicitis issues that undermined him last year, was imperious against the big-serving American.
He did not face a single break point and won 90 per cent of his first-service points. "I was almost perfect," Nadal told Sky Sports Italia. "It was a good match, I'm satisfied."
The Spaniard, who fell to seventh in the rankings after Sunday's final defeat to Andy Murray in Madrid, looked to be back on the path to discovering his best claycourt form.
The warm weather made the court faster and Nadal's top-spin forehand forced Isner on the defensive, something the statuesque American does not do well.
Nadal, a seven-time champion in Rome, will face the winner of Stanislas Wawrinka's match against Dominic Thiem.
In the women's event, the second seed Simona Halep easily downed Venus Williams 6-2 6-1 in just over an hour while Eugenie Bouchard double faulted on match point, before losing a three-hour battle to Carla Suarez Navarro 6-7(2) 7-5 7-6(7).