Roger Federer is on track for a second Australian Open crown in three years after comfortably defeating Belorussian Max Mirnyi to reach the fourth round at Melbourne Park.
The world number one cruised to a 6-3 6-4 6-3 win over Mirnyi to set up a clash against German Tommy Haas – who beat him at last week’s exhibition Kooyong Classic in Melbourne.
Federer got off to a brilliant start with an early break giving him the momentum as he went on to easily claim the first set, but the number one seed found it more difficult in the second set.
Pressured a couple of times on serve, the 30th-seeded Mirnyi saved break points with aces but, after six break point attempts, Federer finally broke through in the seventh game and had no trouble wrapping up a two-set lead.
The Swiss ace went up a gear in the third set, breaking Mirnyi’s serve in the opening game, and any hope of a Mirnyi fightback was all-but gone when a few trick shots brought the crowd to their feet.
Yet to make it past the third round of the Australian Open in nine attempts, Mirnyi will have to wait a bit longer to try to improve his record, with Federer ultimately making easy work of a clash which promised much more.
Haas’ brilliant serving helped him recover from a set down to beat home hope Peter Luczak 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4.
Haas gave just one break-point opportunity for the four sets and pounded 55 winners to set up a potential fourth-round clash with world number one Roger Federer, whom he beat in last week’s Kooyong Classic.
Frenchmen Sebastien Grosjean and Paul-Henri Mathieu will meet in the fourth round after both overcame South American opponents on day six at Melbourne Park.
Grosjean, seeded 25th, knocked out Spanish sixth seed Guillermo Coria in four sets 6-2 6-2 3-6 6-4 as the Argentinian hit 23 double-faults in the match.
Meanwhile, Mathieu equalled his best performance at a Grand Slam with a straight-sets win over Peruvian Luis Horna.
Mathieu went down an early break in each of the first two sets but recovered to win both in tie-breaks before closing out the match 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (9-7) 6-1.
Slovakia’s Dominik Hrbaty won his third five-setter of the tournament, beating Russian 23rd seed Igor Andreev 1-6 6-4 6-3 2-6 6-4.
After taking a 2-1 lead after three sets, the 12th seed was in deep trouble at 4-1 down in the fifth before bouncing back to win in three-and-a-half hours.
Argentinian Juan Ignacio Chela made light work of Kristof Vliegen with a 6-1 6-4 6-4 win.
The big-hitting Belgian went for his shots, hitting twice as many winners as Chela but also 44 unforced errors.