Roger Federer thrilled Rod Laver Arena on Thursday with a straight-sets victory over Jan-Lennard Struff as other top names made early Australian Open exits.
Federer comfortably saw off the challenge of Struff in day four's final game, the second seed only pushed in the third set as his German opponent forced a tie-break.
Victory was assured in less than two hours, Federer marching on to a match with Richard Gasquet as another former champion – Stan Wawrinka – bowed out in the second round.
Novak Djokovic had the toughest of the sweltering conditions in Melbourne as he saw off Gael Monfils, while there were also wins for Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro and Alexander Zverev.
David Goffin joined Wawrinka in departing, though, as Julien Benneateau's final year on the ATP Tour got off to a marvellous start.
FABULOUS FEDERER MARCHES ON
Federer already has five Australian Open crowns to his name and he looks in fine fettle as he goes in search of a sixth - which would see him equal Djokovic's record in Melbourne.
The 36-year-old belied his age to ease past Struff, saving two of the three break points he faced - all of which came in the final set of his 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win.
Next up is Gasquet in what will be a must-see for fans of a one-handed backhand, both men fine exponents of the art.
And it is a clash Federer is relishing, saying in his on-court interview: "I love playing against one-handed [backhand] guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible."
TENNYS IS THE BIG WINNER
Former champion Wawrinka only returned from a knee injury in Melbourne and there was plenty of rustiness in his game against the appropriately named Tennys Sandgren, the American taking full advantage to continue his best grand slam performance.
Sandgren had never won a match at a major event before this week, but has now beaten a three-time grand slam winner and will meet Maximilian Marterer - who ousted Fernando Verdasco in five sets - in round three.
Wawrinka was not the only big name to depart on day four with Goffin and 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist Sam Querrey also suffering surprise defeats to Benneteau and Marton Fucsovics respectively.
"I only had surgery five months ago, five months and three days," said a philosophical Wawrinka. "I think I'm way ahead of what I should be, that's for sure. That's why I need to be positive.
"Today was extremely tough, but I need to take what I can to be positive with everything, with the big picture."
DJOKOVIC AND MONFILS QUESTION "BRUTAL HEAT"
From the scoreline, Djokovic's victory over Monfils looked relatively straightforward, the Serbian coming from a set down to win 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-3 in just under three hours.
However, the numbers did not tell the full story as both players battled extreme heat in Melbourne, the mercury rising to 42 degrees Celsius at times on Rod Laver Arena, conditions they were critical of post-match.
"The conditions were brutal, that's for sure," Djokovic told a media conference. "I mean, we both struggled."
Monfils added: "It was tough to breathe. I think it was the hardest I have [played in]. I got super dizzy, I think I had small heat stroke for 40 minutes. I couldn't feel fresh. I tried to cool down, but even with the ice towel, the water [I could not]. I think my body was super warm."
DON'T STOP BELIEVING
Fifth seed Dominic Thiem would have been expected to brush aside qualifier Denis Kudla on Margaret Court Arena, but the Austrian found himself two sets down to the American after two hours on court.
Thiem was not to be denied, though, as he rallied to edge a five-set thriller 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-3, a feat he never gave up on despite his early problems.
"Of course, it's very tough [being two sets down]," he said. "Not easy mentally, but from when I was a break up in the third set, the mind was again positive. I always knew that if I play well and if I keep it up that I could turn it around."
|Solskjaer to United: Cardiff stint not relevant to Old Trafford challenge, says Berg|
|Manchester United´s on-field results must improve to maintain commercial strength - sports finance e|
|Rashid and Carey inspire winning start for Strikers|
|Solskjaer to United: Phelan to continue Mariners role during coaching stint|
|Malone: Jokic an MVP contender|
|Solskjaer to United: Returning heroes - the hits and misses|
|Solskjaer to United: Ole´s best moments for United|
|Solskjaer to United: Club writing off two seasons with interim appointment - Fletcher|
|Allen´s LeBron block made statement - Atkinson|
|Solskjaer to United: Molde give blessing for their manager to take job on temporary basis|
|Dragons land Eels playmaker Norman|
|Black Caps tried everything - Williamson|
|Solskjaer to United: Red Devils´ interim boss in numbers|
|Solskjaer to United: Other Ferguson pupils who became teachers|
|Manchester United appoint Solskjaer until end of season|
|Kane a doubt for north London derby|
|Mourinho sacking changes things – Tuchel|
|Nets top Lakers in Brooklyn, extend winning streak to six games|
|LeBron on Lakers potentially acquiring Davis: That would be amazing|
|Rain helps Sri Lanka claim draw against New Zealand|
|Mourinho had to ´take the consequences´, says Klopp|
|Ausilio: Icardi has offer on table, won´t be sold to Juve|
|Chargers lead NFL Pro Bowl selections, Brees named NFC starting QB|
|Pro Bowl 2019: Chargers lead NFL with 7 selections, Drew Brees named NFC starting QB|
|Savea re-signs with All Blacks, Hurricanes|
|Flanagan facing de-registration as Sharks, Tigers cop huge fines|
|Napoli rejected £95m offer for Koulibaly amid United links – De Laurentiis|
|Kovac feels for axed United boss Mourinho|
|Rabiot, we do not need you – PSG fans respond to wantaway midfielder|
|Guardiola hails assured debut from Man City youngster Garcia|
|He´s very happy at Tottenham – Arsenal boss Emery wants Pochettino to reject Manchester United|
|Rams sign RB C.J. Anderson|
|Good luck with the Red Devils - Norway PM´s message for Solskjaer|
|Pogba was ´dancing on the grave´ of Mourinho - Neville|
|Solskjaer set to replace Mourinho after Man United gaffe|
|City signing Steffen up to Guardiola´s goalkeeper demands, says Berhalter|
|Mourinho is so strong - Guardiola backing for fallen rival|
|Mourinho? Ausilio dismisses Inter return after United sacking|
|Whyte needs to raise his game to beat Chisora again - Haye|
|Brussino leads late Tenerife rally as Venezia down Holon|
|Orleans 1 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Super sub Diaby sends holders through|
|Leicester City 1 Manchester City 1 (1-3 on penalties): Muric stands tall in poor shoot-out|
|Middlesbrough 0 Burton Albion 1: League One side reach semi-finals|
|Bologna 0 AC Milan 0: Bakayoko sent off as Inzaghi claims point against former side|
|Fortuna Dusseldorf 2 Borussia Dortmund 1: Bundesliga leaders suffer shock first loss|
|Rivera yet to make a call on sitting Panthers QB Newton|
|Pulisic would thrive in Premier League, but Berhalter expects Dortmund stay|
|Raptors coach Nurse fined by NBA for criticising referees|
|Solari ´loves´ struggling Real Madrid star Isco|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Lukaku, Fred and his other Man United signings rated|
|Mourinho sacked: What does it mean for Manchester United players?|
|Ibrahimovic provides short-term pain, long-term gain for US - Berhalter|
|River Plate 2 Al Ain 2 (aet, 4-5 on penalties): Perez misses decisive spot kick|
|De Bruyne and Aguero back for City, surprise debut for Garcia|
|Uncapped Varun ´panicked a little´ after huge IPL deal|
|Replays scrapped for FA Cup fifth round|
|Pochettino readies big guns for Gunners|
|Ex-Wasps star Wade struggling with NFL transition|
|BCCI rejects ´baseless´ claims over Kohli-Paine ´banter´|
|Ibrahimovic re-signs with LA Galaxy for 2019|
|Mourinho sacked: Solari not worried for Real Madrid job|
|Mourinho sacked: 895 days and more than £700,000 in five-star luxury|
|ES Tunis 1 Guadalajara 1 (6-5 on penalties): Dhaouadi holds nerve to settle ill-tempered affair|
|Murphy lands permanent Tigers role|
|Mourinho sacked: Real Madrid´s Marcelo lauds ´great coach´ after United exit|
|Unadkat, Varun the top buys at IPL auction|
|Emery prepared to give youth a chance in north London derby|
|Tottenham extend Vertonghen contract until 2020|
|Panthers safety Reid receives seventh random drug test of 2018|
|Kovac relishing Klopp challenge in Champions League|