Serena Williams cruised past Dally Randriantefy in straight sets to reach the last eight of the Rome Masters.
Williams has struggled with injury in the last 12 months
The top seed, who looked very rusty in her previous match which had been her first for a month, beat the Madagascan 6-1 6-3.
Second seed Amelie Mauresmo also eased through, overpowering Conchita Martinez 6-3 6-4.
Former world number one Jennifer Capriati swept aside 12th seed Paola Suarez 6-2 6-2.
Williams will now play ninth seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Kuznetsova, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon
last year, booked her place in the last eight by edging Japanese
seventh seed Ai Sugiyama in a tense three-set battle.
The 18-year-old Russian threw away a 5-0 lead in the decider to allow
Sugiyama to draw level, but Kuznetsova held her nerve
in the tiebreak.
French player Mauresmo, runner-up at this event for the past three years, now meets 10th seed Silvia Farina-Elia.
Farina Elia delighted her home crowd by beating 17-year-old Russian Maria
And there will be two Italians in the last eight after 14th seed Francesca Schiavone beat another Russian, Elena Likhovtseva, 6-1 6-3.
Schiavone now meets Vera Zvonareva, who beat fellow Russian Elena Bovina in straight sets.
Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi, who beat local favourite Flavia Pennetta 6-2 6-2 to earn a quarter-final meeting with Capriati.