The Australian Open is renowned for its unpredictability, but on the evidence of their performances here today the top seeds in the two senior singles events have no intention of being victims of an upset.
Roger Federer moved smoothly into the fourth round with an impressive 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain's Albert Montanes, while Serena Williams maintained her near-faultless start to the year’s first Grand Slam event by beating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0, 6-3.
Since dropping a set to Igor Andreev in the first round Federer has never looked in trouble. His win over Montanes, the No 31 seed, was his 50th victory at Melbourne Park, where he has won three of his 15 Grand Slam singles titles. Federer has now reached the last 16 of every Grand Slam tournament since losing in the third round of the French Open six years ago.
"It was important to come through the first week," Federer said after his latest win. "I feel good, I feel confident. Physically I'm fine and mentally fresh and that's the way you want to go into the second week. Obviously as the draw goes further the matches will get harder, but physically I'm fine and mentally I'm refreshed. That's how you want to be heading into the second week."
Williams, the defending champion and four times a winner here, has dropped just nine games in her first three matches. Today’s win, which took an hour and 21 minutes, provided an element of family revenge, Suarez having beaten her sister Venus in the second round here last year.
Serena, striking the ball with her customary power, sailed through the first set until she led 5-0. The American then needed eight set points in a 23-minute game that went to 13 deuces and lasted longer than the previous five games combined.
Suarez provided more competition in the second set but never looked like delaying Williams for too long. The world No 1 now plays Australia’s Sam Stosur, a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Italy’s Alberta Brianti.