Valencia - World number three David Ferrer booked his place in the second round of the Valencia Open with a confident 6-3, 6-2 win over Gael Monfils on Wednesday.
The number one seed was expected to be stretched by the mercurial Monfils having lost three of the previous four meetings between the pair.
However, he edged a tight first set, saving two break points to serve it out in the ninth game before breaking twice early in the second to cruise to victory.
"Games against Gael are never easy, he has great physical power and it was a hard fought match," said the Spaniard.
Monfils however appeared to be struggling with an injury during the second set as Ferrer pulled away, denying the Frenchman a route back into the match.
"I was just trying to play my own game and keep him running.
"Playing in front of this home crowd motivates me and I hope to keep it going the rest of the week."
Next up for the three-time champion in Valencia is another Frenchman, Julien Benneteau, on Thursday.
Fourth-seeded American John Isner also sealed his place in the second round as he edged past Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2).
And seventh seed Fabio Fognini became the first man to book his place in the quarter-finals as he eased past Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-2.
Results from the third day of the ATP Valencia Open on Wednesday (x denotes seeding):
David Ferrer (ESP x1) bt Gael Monfils (FRA) 6-3, 6-2
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3, 6-3
John Isner (USA x4) bt Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2)
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) bt Florian Mayer (GER) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Fabio Fognini (ITA x7) bt Marcel Granollers (ESP) 6-3, 6-2.