The former world No. 1, seeded sixth at this particular fortnight, blew away fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 on Court Chatrier.
Nadal's trying to become the first man to capture 10 titles at one major tournament.
Ninth-seeded U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic joined Nadal in the third round by handling Italian Andrea Arnaboldi 7-6 (7-3), 6-1, 6-1. Cilic's third-round opponent will be in-form Argentine Leonardo Mayer.
In other second-round action involving seeds, Spaniard Pablo Andujar upended No. 22 German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4 and a No. 23 Mayer topped Poland's Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (1-7), 6-1. Mayer was a clay-court runner-up in Nice last week.