The world number one crushed his opponent 6-0 in the opening set before he took control of the match by clinching the second 6-3.
Nadal refused to give Ginepri an easy ride in the third, and he eventually closed out the one-sided encounter 6-0 to progress.
Read Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report below to find out how all of the action unfolded on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
4.08pmHello there and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage as Rafael Nadal begins the defence of his French Open title against American Robby Ginepri. There's been a fair bit of rain at Roland Garros today, but it looks as if it might just hold out for the Spaniard to get his campaign underway.
4.11pmQuite simply, Nadal's record at the French Open is incredible. The world number one has won the title eight times following last year's triumph over fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. During his nine appearances at the Grand Slam, Nadal has lost just once. That came back in 2009 when Robin Soderling earned a stunning win in the fourth round before eventually losing to Roger Federer in the final.
4.15pmWhile Nadal is expected to reach at least the final of this year's tournament, he has already enjoyed a solid start to the 2014 season. He's won three of the nine events that he's played so far (Qatar, Rio, Madrid), and he made it into the final of his last tournament at the Italian Open before losing to Novak Djokovic.
4.18pmHere come the players! Nadal and Ginepri will be competing on Court Suzanne Lenglen this afternoon, though that decision from tournament official has raised a few eyebrows. Many think that the Spaniard, as defending champion, should have opened up on Court Philippe Chatrier. However, the decision has been made for him to feature in the third match on Lenglen.
4.21pmIt would be fair to say that a win for wildcard Robby Ginepri today would be considered one of the most sensational shocks in Grand Slam history. The American's best result here was a fourth-round appearance in 2008. He is currently ranked 279th in the world. His best overall showing at a Grand Slam was reaching the semi-finals of the US Open in 2005.
4.23pmHEAD TO HEAD: The two players have met just once before, with Nadal beating Ginepri 7-5 7-6(1) in the semi-finals of the Madrid Masters back in 2005.
4.26pmThe pre-match knock-up has been done, and it will be Ginepri to get us underway on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Here we go!
4.32pmBREAK! NADAL *1-0 GINEPRI (*denotes next server)
4.35pmNadal starts off with a break, but he had to work to get it. Both he and Ginepri made multiple errors during that game thanks to some dodgy hitting from the baseline. However, forehand from Ginepri that goes beyond the back of the court sees Nadal open positively.
4.38pmWhile the first game proved tricky for Nadal, he has no such difficulties to consolidate the break. That whip-like forehand does most of the damage on this occasion, though he puts one point away with a beautifully-judged backhand volley at the net.
4.41pmBREAK! NADAL *3-0 GINEPRI Ruthless stuff from Nadal as he takes advantage of some poor errors from Ginepri. The American showed some promise with a neat backhand down the line, but Nadal responded by closing out the game with a rasping forehand winner that had his opponent chasing shadows.
4.45pmNADAL 4-0* GINEPRI It's all so easy for Nadal at the moment. The Spaniard's forehand is doing most of the damage as he makes light work of Ginepri, who is already looking beaten. It's hard to see where the American can go from here because Nadal is running away with this.
4.51pmBREAK! NADAL *5-0 GINEPRI That's hugely disappointing from a Ginepri perspective as he lets a 40-0 lead slip to allow Nadal another break. The American demonstrated some clinical hitting from the baseline more than once during that game, but Nadal fought back to take it to deuce before moving to within a game of taking the opening set. The world number one is like a pitbull - he simply will not let go.
4.56pmSET! NADAL 6-0 GINEPRI No problem for Nadal closing out the set there as he takes the opening set 6-0. A wayward backhand from Ginepri gave the defending champion two set points, and he converted the first with a cross-court backhand that left Ginepri with no chance. This could get embarrassing for the American.
5.03pmNADAL 6-0 *0-1 GINEPRI He's done it! Ginepri gets on the board, and the crowd inside Court Suzanne Lenglen show their appreciation with rapturous cheers! The American led 40-30 before Nadal fought back to take it to deuce, but Ginepri hung in their to grind the game out thanks to some wily hitting and movement at the net.
5.08pmNADAL 6-0 1-1* GINEPRI Some wonderful hitting from Nadal during that game as he levels the second set. The world number one got himself into a dominant position with a couple of brutal smashes before a forehand winner down the line saw him close it out in eye-catching style.
5.13pmNADAL 6-0 *1-2 GINEPRI Ginepri does it again! He's certainly showing a bit more bite in this set compared to the first. The American moved into a 40-30 before allowing Nadal back in, but he was then able to see off the Spaniard with some confident hitting from the back of the court. He sealed the game by pinging a deep backhand right into the corner.
5.19pmNADAL 6-0 2-2* GINEPRI Nadal is made to work for that hold, saving a break point following some dogged play from Ginepri. However, two laser-like forehands from the defending champion sees him get back on terms. His technique on that forehand is sensational, whipping the racket around his head with incredible power and precision.
5.24pmNADAL 6-0 *2-3 GINEPRI Ginepri seems to be finding his rhythm now. The American delivered some bludgeoning blows on his forehand side during that game, grinding Nadal down before sealing the hold. That said, Nadal doesn't look to concerned with his opponent's resurgence - he's still in control of this contest.
5.29pmNADAL 6-0 3-3* GINEPRI Not the most convincing game from Nadal, but he holds to make it 3-3. A couple of wayward backhands from Ginepri put Nadal in the ascendancy before the American got lucky with a shot that hit the net and crept over. However, Nadal then secured the hold as Ginepri hit a forehand long.
5.33pmBREAK! NADAL 6-0 *4-3 GINEPRI Ginepri was doing so well, but an error-strewn game sees Nadal break to tighten his grip on the set. The American lost all of his verve there following a decent start to the second set. Nadal hardly had to work for any of the points in that game - Ginepri pretty much gifted them to him.
5.38pmNADAL 6-0 5-3* GINEPRI Nadal consolidates the break with a fairly routine hold, though again Ginepri is proving to be his own worst enemy with some poor hitting from the back of the court. The American made three errors during that game, the last of which sealed the hold for his opponent.
5.41pmSET! NADAL 6-0 6-3 GINEPRI It was a gallant effort during that set from Ginepri, but it wasn't enough to stop Nadal taking a step closer to winning this match by claiming the set 6-3. That final game saw Nadal break for a second time in the set, and again Ginepri's hitting was all over the place. Where the world number one is all precision and perfection, his opponent is having real difficulties keeping the ball in play.
5.46pmNADAL 6-0 6-3 1-0* GINEPRI Despite Ginepri winning the first couple of points on the Nadal serve, the Spaniard keeps cool to fight back and clinch the hold. In that game, Nadal showed some deft touches in and around the net before a Ginepri forehand into the net saw the world number one hold.
5.52pmBREAK! NADAL 6-0 6-3 2-0* GINEPRI Wonderful from Nadal. The intensity of the man is something to behold. His footwork during that game was exemplary, scuttling around the court to make Ginepri's life a misery. Yet again, an error from Ginepri handed Nadal the break, though that was about the only gift that he gave him in that game.
5.55pmNADAL 6-0 6-3 3-0* GINEPRI Nadal is cruising towards victory now, running Ginepri ragged as he closes in on a place in round two. A fizzing forehand and a powerful backhand were the highlights in that one-sided game. There was a moment of worry when Ginepri fell down while chasing a shot, but the American was quick to get on his feet and assure the umpire that he was okay.
6pmBREAK! NADAL 6-0 6-3 *4-0 GINEPRI This is getting even more embarrassing for Ginepri now. Nadal holds again with some commanding play from the back of the court. One particular moment saw the Spaniard launch a ferocious forehand down the line that absolutely flew past his opponent. If anything, this is starting to resemble an exhibition for Nadal.
6.02pmNADAL 6-0 6-3 5-0* GINEPRI Nadal holds to move within a game of the second round, but that recent passage of play included the rally of the match. Both men jousted with flair at the net before Nadal scooped the ball beyond Ginepri to claim the point. Credit to Ginepri though, he displayed some great touches during that exchange.
6.08pmGAME, SET AND MATCH! NADAL 6-0 6-3 6-0 GINEPRI
6.10pmNadal squanders three match points to let Ginepri off the hook, but he makes no mistake on the fourth as he seals his progress 6-0 6-3 6-0. It's his 60th victory at Roland Garros and he looks absolutely delighted with it.
6.13pmGinepri showed some signs of life during the second set, though the result never looked in doubt. This was by no means a vintage display from Nadal, but he did what he needed to do to make it into the next round. The world number one will now meet either Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu or Austria's Dominic Thiem for a spot in round three.
6.16pmThat's all from our live text coverage of today's encounter, but don't forget that you can follow all of the post-match reaction right here on Sports Mole. Thanks for your company, and we hope to see you again soon. Goodbye!