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."
18. August 2018
|Scherzer, Harper lead Nationals past Marlins|
|Djokovic and Federer join Cilic, Goffin in Cincinnati semis|
|Federer outlasts recovering Wawrinka|
|WATCH: Djokovic wins match, loses car|
|Bolt arrives in Sydney for A-League trial|
|Red-hot Bertens beats Svitolina, Halep marches on|
|Snedeker preserves Wyndham lead|
|Halep hits back to torment Tsurenko|
|Raonic fails to break Djokovic stranglehold|
|Emery seeks more ´demanding´ Ozil|
17. August 2018
|CAF Champions League Review: Wydad, Al Ahly & TP Mazembe qualify|
|Stephen Curry wants to finish his career with Warriors|
|Hazard among Europe´s best but can improve, says Sarri|
|Tigers boost top-two hopes, Giants close in on fourth|
|Birmingham City 0 Swansea City 0: Monk´s men held despite dominance|
|Inter taking legal action against Tebas over Modric transfer comments|
|Serie A transfer round-up: Zaza joins Torino, Parma sign Gervinho|
|Roma chief Pallotta makes light of De Laurentiis claim|
|Federer starts double-header by seeing off resilient Mayer|
|Ospina joins Napoli on loan from Arsenal|
|Klavan completes Cagliari switch|
|Djokovic holds out against Dimitrov as Raonic awaits|
|New dates confirmed for postponed Serie A fixtures|
|Halep breezes past Barty to set up Tsurenko clash on same day|
|Olesen unable to capitalise on strong start as Jamieson, Waring go clear|
|Hoffenheim tie Kramaric to four-year deal|
|Mina to miss Southampton clash while Gomes is ´weeks´ away|
|Barcelona coach Valverde dismisses Pogba speculation|
|Valverde not prioritising Champions League over defending Barcelona´s LaLiga title|
|Allegri thanks outgoing Juventus icon Marchisio|
|Pants display from Beef? Johnston forced into change of trousers in Sweden|
|Tour champion Thomas has Welsh velodrome named in his honour|
|Gloucester surprised and disappointed by RFU´s swift Cipriani charge|
|Storm skipper Smith´s back injury not ´too serious´|
|Spurs fixture switch doesn´t appeal to Guardiola|
|Brazil call up Andreas Pereira & Arthur but omit Man City stars|
|Mbappe returns to PSG squad, Kehrer set for debut|
|No Messi in Argentina squad as Simeone wins first call-up|
|England man Roy embarrassed by self-inflicted facial injury|
|Atletico Madrid fined for breaching third-party regulations|
|Cipriani charged by RFU after common assault conviction|
|No contact, no negotiation - Leonardo denies AC Milan deal for Milinkovic-Savic|
|Kovacic set for Chelsea debut against Arsenal|
|Fury´s father restrained as Wilder crashes Pianeta weigh-in|
|Kohli and Bumrah fit for win-or-bust Test|
|Stokes ready and desperate to help England, says Root|
|Salah, Mane and Firmino not in competition says Klopp|
|Darmian staying at Manchester United, says Mourinho|
|Guardiola cites fatigue as factor for stricken De Bruyne|
|Kovac approves Rudy departure from bloated Bayern midfield|
|Klopp insists no player leaves without his approval amid Klavan rumours|
|Real Madrid complain to FIFA over Inter´s alleged Modric approach|
|Mourinho ´has never been so happy´ with unsettled Pogba|
|Manly implode amid Barrett uncertainty, Storm´s Smith injured|
|Sarri certain Hazard is staying at Chelsea|
|Liverpool, Champions League, Manchester derby - The matches De Bruyne will miss due to injury|
|Campbell joins Frosinone from Arsenal on permanent deal|
|Schalke sign Lille´s Mendyl to end left-back hunt|
|Stokes back in England team as Curran drops out|
|Ronaldo doesn´t guarantee Juventus the title, warns Allegri|
|Tuchel keen to guide PSG star Mbappe after World Cup heroics|
|Yuri: I can see Neymar joining Real Madrid|
|Milan pounce for Castillejo as Bacca joins Villarreal permanently|
|De Bruyne to miss three months for Manchester City|
|Manchester City talent Arzani completes Celtic loan|
|I know how precious my career is, says regretful Cipriani|
|Paulo Bento named new South Korea coach|
|Milan complete Laxalt deal|
|Poyet suspended by Bordeaux after outburst against board|
|Tuchel will let Neymar and Cavani settle penalties themselves|