Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic ease into Australian Open last 16

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The Independent Online

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic barely broke sweat today as they eased into the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Federer showed no ill-effects from his five-set thriller against Gilles Simon on Wednesday night as he brushed aside the challenge of Xavier Malisse for the loss of just seven games.

Djokovic had an even easier time as his fellow Serbian and Davis Cup team-mate Viktor Troicki had to pull out with a stomach strain after losing the first set of their contest.

Federer had a 7-1 record coming into the match against his good friend Malisse and rarely looked troubled as he clinched a 6-3 6-3 6-1 victory in one hour and 45 minutes.

The Swiss made a storming start, racing to a 5-0 lead in double-quick time.

Malisse pulled it back with a break of his own but Federer closed it out.

The Belgian, ranked 45th in the world, threatened a comeback at the start of the second as he broke to establish a 3-1 lead.

But the 16-time grand slam champion simply upped his level to rattle off five consecutive games to extend his advantage.

Malisse cut a despondent figure in the third as Federer toyed with him. The Belgian finally got on the board late in the set, offering a bow to the crowd in mock celebration, before Federer wrapped it up.

The defending champion said afterwards: "I am still happy I passed the test against Simon.

"Today wasn't a whole lot easier although the scoreline might suggest it."

Federer will meet Tommy Robredo in the last 16, the Spaniard beating Sergiy Stakhovsky 5-7 6-2 6-4 6-2.

Djokovic had mixed feelings following his match, which he was leading 6-2 before Troicki defaulted. While he was concerned over his opponent's injury he was equally pleased to have got through without expending too much energy.

He said: "After the match he told me that he could not make a full movement of the serve. I could see that, because he serves well over 200 kilometres per hour and he couldn't do that today.

"He obviously tried his best. It's the third round of a grand slam, it's not the way you want to finish the tournament. It's sad for him but I have to move on.

"It's good that I didn't spend that much time on the court, maybe save some energy. But I'm going to be ready for the next match."

That next match will be against Spain's Nicolas Almagro, who beat Ivan Ljubicic 6-4 7-6 (10/8) 6-3.

Andy Roddick was pushed by Holland's Robin Haase but came through 2-6 7-6 (7/2) 6-2 6-2.

Haase injured his ankle when making a volley in just the second game but still claimed the opening set. But once the American, seeded eight, won the second-set tie-break there was only ever going to be one winner.

"Yeah, the breaker was pretty important," Roddick said afterwards.

"It was pretty apparent that I needed to turn it. He blinked for a second for the first time in the day and I was able to turn it the way I wanted it to go.

"The biggest thing was that breaker. He wins that and I think that was the match."

Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych also progressed today with a 6-2 7-6 (7/3) 6-2 defeat of Richard Gasquet. He will meet the winner of tonight's clash between Fernando Verdasco and Kei Nishikori in the last 16.