World No. 1 Rafael got the quick start he wanted on Wednesday at the ATP Masters Monte Carlo, while world No. 2 Roger Federer advanced to a meeting with Swiss countryman and friend Stan Wawrinka.
Nadal and Federer are hoping to reprise the final-round appearance they have both gained for the last three years, with Nadal winning all three finals.
Nadal defeated Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela 6-2, 6-3, while Federer topped Italian Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-4.
“I think it is important to try to start well to have the confidence for the rest of the clay season,” Nadal said. “But the important thing is the tournament. Is really important tournament for me. Monte Carlo is historic tournament.”
Nadal will next meet qualifier Nicolas Lapentti, who survived three match points against former No. 1 Marat Safin 7-6(6), 2-6, 7-6(6) in three hours and 29 minutes.
Safin led Lapentti 4-0 in the third, and served at 5-2, 40-15. Safin snapped his racquet in two and received a penalty point when broken at 5-5, then eventually lost in a breaker.
The two seeded upsets on the day were wildcard and former Top 10er Ivan Ljubicic surprising No. 5 seed Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, and Italian qualifier Fabio Fognini bouncing No. 14 Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-0.
Other seeded winners were No. 7 Fernando Verdasco topping Philipp Kohlschreiber; No. 8 Nikolay Davydenko over Ivo Karlovic; No. 10 David Ferrer dropping only a game against Marc Gicquel; No. 12 David Nalbandian outlasting Marcel Granollers in three; and No. 13 Wawrinka coming from a set down to defeat Martin Vassallo Arguello.
It will be the first meeting between Federer and Wawrinka on clay on Thursday.
“He’s a good friend of mine,” Wawrinka said of Federer. “It will be nice to play him on the centre court here on clay. I’ve played him three times already and always lost. But those were indoor and hard court. It’s gonna be fun to play tomorrow.”
Other highlights Thursday are  Verdasco vs.  Ferrer in an all-Spanish,  Nadal vs. [Q] N.Lapentti, and  Nalbandian vs.  Davydenko.
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Streaks That Ended After Rafael Nadal Lost To David Ferrer Today In Monte Carlo [Chart]