Nadal's impressive record at Indian Wells now reads 28 wins from 32 matches
Rafael Nadal eased into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells with a 6-3 6-1 win over American qualifier Ryan Sweeting.
The world number one was rarely tested as he continued his return from a leg injury suffered at the Australian Open.
"I didn't play really impressive, but I played solid. I didn't have big mistakes," the Spaniard said.
Fourth seed Robin Soderling blamed a foot injury and a virus after crashing out to German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Soderling, the two-time French Open finalist, lost 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 to the number 32 seed in what was only his second defeat of the season in 21 matches.
"I hurt my foot last week in Davis Cup and since then it's been pretty bad. I couldn't give 100%," explained the dejected Swede, who had been eyeing a fourth title this year. "I lost the match when I decided to go out on court. It was stupid to play."
Kohlschreiber will play former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro who beat 20th-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 6-3.
I started like I didn't have my cup of coffee or something
Andy Murray's conqueror Donald Young could not repeat his heroics against Spain's Tommy Robredo in a 6-0 6-4 defeat, American Sam Querrey beat ninth seed Fernando Verdasco 7-5 6-4 and 23rd-seeded Albert Montanes ousted Spanish compatriot Nicolas Almagro 4-6 6-2 6-4.
In Monday's later match, all eyes were on Nadal who is looking to secure his third title in Indian Well following successes in 2007 and 2009.
After conceding two games in the previous round, the top seed dropped four games to overcome the 23-year-old American, ranked 105 in the world, in 68 minutes.
Nadal returned to action on 4 March in the Davis Cup for the first time since damaging a leg muscle in his Australian Open quarter-final defeat by compatriot David Ferrer at the end of January.
"In general, I am happy with the serve, happy with the backhand," added the 24-year-old Nadal, who next plays Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman who edged past Belgium's Xavier Malisse 6-1 3-6 7-6.
"My forehand always is my best shot, and I need to be more aggressive. That's the only thing, in my opinion, but probably it is the most important thing."
The great Dane Wozniacki is looking to remain world number one
Meanwhile, top women's seed Caroline Wozniacki stepped up her bid to win her first Indian Wells title by brushing aside Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez to reach the fourth round.
Wozniacki, who lost to Martinez Sanchez in their three previous matches, eased past the Spaniard in straight sets 6-1 6-3.
The Dane needs a strong showing in the tournament to keep hold of her number one ranking. "I had to focus on my own serve," she said.
"She has a pretty tricky serve, so once I had broken her, I just needed to keep my serve. That sounds very easy, but it's difficult to do sometimes. I had to fight till the last point, because you never know what to expect."
Wozniacki will now face Russia's Alisa Kleybanova, who beat 13th seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-3 6-4.
Eighth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus saw off Poland's Urszula Radwanska, with better news for her ninth-seeded sister Agnieszka Radwanska, who battled past Russia's Maria Kirilenko 6-0 2-6 7-5.
Maria Sharapova beat 20th-seeded Aravene Rezai 6-2 6-2 with the Russian back in action on the WTA Tour after a five-week break because of illness.
"I started like I didn't have my cup of coffee or something, didn't have my peeps around, so that was disappointing," Sharapova said.
Nadia Petrova, 18th seed, needed over two hours as she avoided a shock against American wild card Christina McHale in a 3-6 6-4 6-2 triumph.