The world number one, who is looking to win the tournament for a ninth time, defeated the Russian 6-4 6-1 on Tuesday.
However, the Spaniard has credited his Russian opponent for giving him a tough opening match out on court.
"Always in the first match, the thing that you want at the beginning is get into a rhythm, play some long points, find the feelings," he told the ATP's official website. "But I didn't have that chance because he started very quick with finding the winners on the first ball that he could."
Nadal's opponent in the next round is Italy's Andreas Seppi.