The Swiss icon moved into the next phase of the tournament courtesy of a 7-5, 6-3 win over the world No 103.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer, a year older than Ferrer, but also still playing at an elite level, rallied from a set down to beat Moldova's Radu Albot 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 as he kick-started his Miami Open campaign.
"I know I could feel the pressure maybe, to some extent, if I don't make the first serves".
He will meet Joao Sousa in the third round after the Portuguese 29-year-old defeated Steve Johnson 7-6 (6) 6-4.
Three-times Miami champion Federer finished with 38 winners but had to overcome 41 unforced errors to defeat Albot. He's a great, great player.
Federer will next face Serbia's Filip Krajinovic on Monday. As the sun set in Miami, the Swiss, Roger Federer earned his first break point towards the end of the second set and simultaneously took it at 7-5.
After more than two months on the sidelines, the world No. 7 smashed 17 aces en route to the second-round win over the 21-year-old and he later claimed he was "happy with how the elbow responded".
Seeded players advancing Saturday included No. 6 Kevin Anderson of South Africa, who needed three sets to beat Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; No. 8 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who beat American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (4), 6-1; No. 13 Daniil Medvedev of Russia, No. 14 Marco Cecchinato of Italy; No. 18 David Goffin of Belgium; No. 20 Denis Shapovalov of Canada, No. 24 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and No. 28 Frances Tiafoe of the U.S.
Some fierce hitting from the back of the court surprised the predictably pro-Federer crowd at Hard Rock Stadium and a brilliant run and flick over the net handed helped set up an early break for 3-2.
Double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova progressed after seeing off Donna Vekic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, while Angelique Kerber lost to wild card Bianca Andreescu 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. That break off serve aided the Moldavian to dominate the first set and later he went on to seal the set 6-4.