Nieminen triumphed 6-3 6-4, holding serve throughout, to progress to Wednesday’s meeting with Federer at the ATP’s newest claycourt tournament.
Kazakhstan’s number six seed Mikhail Kukushkin is also through after a 6-3 6-4 win over countryman Aleksandr Nedovyesov. He will face Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the next round after the Spaniard also posted a straight-sets win.
Number five seed Andreas Haider-Maurer, however, failed to progress following a 7-5 6-3 defeat to Ivan Dodig of Croatia.
Other winners on Tuesday were rising Russian star Andrey Rublev, Jurgen Melzer, Diego Schwartzman, Denis Istomin, Teymuraz Gabashvili and Dusan Lajovic.