Nadal and Federer storm through
A review of the rest of Saturday's action in the Australian Open men's singles, including wins for Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
- Related Content
Rafael Nadal sent a message to his rivals with a clinical display to defeat dangerous Frenchman Gael Monfils in the third round of the Australian Open.
Monfils, with his flashy shots and crowd-pleasing style, has caused a degree of trouble for Nadal in the past but not this time.
The Frenchman managed just three games in the first two sets and, although he fared better in the third, it was Nadal who eased to a 6-1 6-2 6-3 victory.
Things may have been different had Monfils responded to a break of his serve in the first game by hitting straight back.
He had three chances but each time Nadal found the answer, and it was not until the fifth game that Monfils got on the board.
There were a smattering of stunning winners from the 27-year-old but far too many loose shots to put any pressure on his opponent.
The only concern for Nadal came in the fourth game of the second set when he slightly rolled his ankle, but he did not require any treatment and a run of four straight games followed.
Monfils began to serve better in the third set and for the first time managed sustained pressure on the Nadal delivery, but every break point was met with rock solid play by the world number one.
And it was no surprise when Monfils blazed a forehand metres over the baseline to hand Nadal the break and a chance to serve for the match.
He took it with the minimum of fuss but Nadal, of course, will not be getting carried away.
The top seed said: "I think I played a great match. I'm very happy the way that I played against a very tough opponent like Gael.
"That makes the level that I played tonight better. But that's it. Just one very good day. That makes me feel confident, but I am in the fourth round. That's all."
Next up is a fourth-round meeting with Japan's Kei Nishikori, who won 17 of the last 18 games in beating Donald Young 7-5 6-1 6-0.
The defeat of Young, who was struggling with a shoulder injury, means the USA once again has no men in the last 16 of a grand slam.
Earlier, Roger Federer continued his serene progress by thrashing Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2 6-2 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena - but things are now about to get tough for the 17-time Grand Slam champion.
Federer has cruised through three rounds, but now faces having to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray, Nadal and Novak Djokovic if he is to lift the trophy.
Federer arrived in Melbourne radiating positivity, declaring himself free of the back problems that contributed to his 2013 struggles and happy with his new racquet.
Victories over James Duckworth, Blaz Kavcic and Gabashvili have told little about his prospects of being a grand slam force once again.
Monday's clash against 10th seed Tsonga should certainly change that, with the Frenchman also yet to drop a set.
Federer and Tsonga have met 13 times before, with the Swiss winning nine of them, but Tsonga has prevailed twice at grand slams.
When they played in the quarter-finals here last year, Federer won in five sets.
The sixth seed said: "This is clearly a tough draw I have had, especially looking forward now. But it's important for me that I keep playing well and I don't go crazy about who I play now.
"I'm happy that from my side I'm winning my matches in straight sets. It's been different conditions every match. So it's just good to get through and get a good feel out there."
Grigor Dimitrov served notice that his time may finally be coming as victory over Milos Raonic took him through to the fourth round of a slam for the first time.
The Bulgarian has been tipped for stardom since his junior days, but has struggled to develop the physical attributes needed at the top level of tennis these days.
Since linking up with Australian coach Roger Rasheed last season, however, he appears to have stepped up a level.
Dimitrov, 22, won his first ATP Tour title in Stockholm in October and headed to Melbourne at a career-high ranking of 22nd.
It was very much a meeting of the next generation against 23-year-old Raonic, ranked 11th, but it was Dimitrov who proved the more consistent in a 6-3 3-6 6-4 7-6 (12/10) victory.
Dimitrov said: "I'm definitely satisfied that I have gone through that match. I think that's not going to be the last time that I play against Milos.
"I think it's a great stepping stone for me to get into that second week that I keep talking about. But I have practised a lot. I have done a lot of homework. So, to me, in a way it's a bit expected."
Dimitrov admitted the expectations of him have been difficult to live with, saying: "They play in my head sometimes.
"It's not easy, obviously. Of course everyone would talk and everyone would say whatever. But the one thing is that I know what I believe in and I know what I'm doing."
Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut followed up his upset win over fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro with a hugely impressive 6-2 6-1 6-4 victory against 27th seed Benoit Paire and plays Dimitrov next.
France's Stephane Robert, meanwhile, won the battle of the lucky losers against Martin Klizan 6-0 7-6 (7/2) 6-4.
The world number 119 is the lowest-ranked player left in the draw and the first lucky loser ever to reach the fourth round in Melbourne.
He will next play Andy Murray, who eased past Feliciano Lopez 7-6 6-4 6-2. You can read a full report of that match by clicking here.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic is likely to face his first test on Sunday against talented Italian Fabio Fognini, while third seed David Ferrer plays German Florian Mayer.