Federer is now two match wins (1,070) away from No. 2 in the Open Era match wins list, passing Ivan Lendl's mark of 1,071 victories.
The third seed broke 19-year-old Zverev for a 4-2 lead in the first set, then closed out the 29-minute opener on his third set point opportunity. Federer broke once more for a 2-1 lead, but Zverev responded immediately in a nine-point game. Federer converted his fourth break point chance in the 11th game and went on to complete victory in 87 minutes.
"[I was] cautious, but extremely happy," said Federer. "I was expecting to lose in straight sets today. That was the mindset going in, so to win in straights is actually a really big surprise to me. I played cautious, and I only decided after the warm-up that I was actually going to play. So for me it was a big match on many levels."
Federer, who was playing his first match since losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on 15 April at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, finished as the runner-up in Rome in 2003 (l. to Mantilla), 2006 and 2013 (l. to Nadal), and 2015 (l. to Djokovic). He is 32-15 overall at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.
"This was something [that] I feel like I needed to do to get a sense of where I'm at," said Federer. "It would have been easy not to play and then just be unsure how I was going to feel in Paris. So at some point you have to go out there and see how it feels, and I'm happy I was able to play a full match without any setbacks."
The Swiss superstar will now take on No. 13 seed Dominic Thiem, who was a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Joao Sousa. Thiem is now 5-1 lifetime against the Portuguese, who reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final last week at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Nadal).
Good to have you back Rog!. :)