World no. 3 and two-time Caja Magica champion Roger Federer made a winning return to clay in Madrid last year, beating Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-3 in 52 minutes for the 19th win in 21 matches since the beginning of the season.
Competing on the slowest surface for the first time since Rome 2016, Roger had the upper hand all the time against the rival who played the first event of the year, struggling with a back injury since Paris Masters in October 2018.
It was the 20th match between Roger and Richard and the 18th win for the Swiss who notched the 375th Masters 1000 triumph and 1199th ATP win overall, the first in Madrid since 2015 when he lost to Nick Kyrgios in a thriller.
Serving at only 53%, Federer played well on both the first and second serve, facing no break points and scoring three on the other side to move over the top in less than an hour. The 20-time Grand Slam champion hit 28 winners and 20 unforced errors, dominating in the shortest rallies after firing a service winner in 40% of all the points behind the initial shot.
The first set lasted just 25 minutes and Roger was the only player on the court, dropping five points in his games and breaking the rival in games two and eight for a 6-2. Richard looked slow and sluggish, spraying a backhand error to get broken in the very first service game and handing the set to Roger when his drop shot failed to reach the net in game eight.
The Frenchman stayed in touch in the first six games of the second set before Federer claimed 12 of the last 15 points, breaking Gasquet in game eight and sealing the deal with a service winner a few minutes later to set the third-round clash against Gael Monfils.