Carlos Alcaraz will reclaim the No.1 ranking and go into the French Open as top seed after beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4 6-1 in his first Italian Open match.
Alcaraz will pass Novak Djokovic for the top spot when the rankings are next published on May 22, also ensuring he will get the No.1 seeding at the French Open, which starts on May 28.
Alcaraz double-faulted to hand Ramos-Vinolas a break of his serve in the opening game of the match but quickly recovered and used his well-disguised drop shot to set up the key break at the end of the first set.
Alcaraz produced nearly three times as many winners as Ramos-Vinolas, 28-11, despite slow conditions on a rainy day at the Foro Italico.
Coming off titles in Barcelona and Madrid, Alcaraz extended his winning streak to 12 matches and improved to 20-1 on clay this year.
In other second-round matches, sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev beat Alex Molcan 6-3 6-4; JJ Wolf eliminated 14th-seeded Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-4; and Borna Coric rallied past Thiago Monteiro 4-6 7-6 (8), 7-6 (5).
Alcaraz will next face Jiri Lehecka or Hungarian qualifier Fabian Marozsan.
Djokovic, who is in the other half of the draw, won his opening match on Friday.
The start of play was delayed for nearly two hours due to rain and there was also a brief interruption during the first set of the Rublev-Molcan match. Then there was a downpour during the final points, as Rublev hurried to close it out.
“I can rest now and I can rest tomorrow. I don’t need to stress waiting,” said Rublev, who won the Monte Carlo Masters last month. “It’s very lucky when you are able to finish just before the rain and you know that most of the players still didn’t play.”