Swiss tennis great Roger Federer dropped a set at the Rome Masters but still made the quarter-finals, last week's Madrid champion beating Juan Carlos Ferrerro of Spain 6-2 5-7 6-1.
Briton Andy Murray continues to be troubled by a long-term back injury and was ousted in three sets by Richard Gasquet in a blow to his French Open hopes, going down 6-7 6-3 6-2 to the French 16th seed.
No such troubles for second seed Rafael Nadal, the Spanish star thrashing compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-1 6-1.
World number one Novak Djokovic dropped his first set and smashed his racquet before the Serb recovered to beat Argentine Juan Monaco 4-6 6-2 6-3.
Sixth seeded Auckland champion David Ferrer eased past another Frenchman, Gilles Simon, 6-0 7-6 while local Andreas Seppi battled past Stanislas Wawrinka, needing three tiebreakers to see off the Swiss 6-7 7-6 7-6.