Spain's Rafael Nadal brushed aside Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 in just over two hours Saturday night to reach the Australian Open's round of 16, while Roger Federer and Andy Murray also moved through comfortably.
Moving well and full of energy inside Rod Laver Arena in a match played in pleasant but humid conditions, following a four-day heat wave, Nadal notched his 12th win in 14 matches against Monfils and second this season.
He had defeated the Frenchman earlier this month in the Doha final.
The world No. 1 was nearly impeccable in the first two sets, which he won in 36 minutes and 39 minutes, respectively, and asserted total control against the most aggressive of the three opponents he has faced thus far in this year's event.
Monfils hung tough in a brutal series of rallies in the third set but finally succumbed to the pressure and dropped serve in the eighth game. The 2009 champion then proceeded to serve out the match and book his spot in the fourth round.
Nadal said in the post-match press conference that he was very pleased with his performance.
"Today I think I have to say that I played well from everywhere, no? I think I played very well with my forehand. Very good control of the ball. Good winners. Movements were great tonight," the Spaniard said.
"And then again today for the first day in the tournament, the forehand down the line worked great," he added.
Nadal had said earlier in the tournament that the faster surface at Melbourne Park was making it difficult for him to execute that shot.
Next up in Monday's fourth round for the world No. 1 will be Japan's Kei Nishikori, who trounced American Donald Young 7-5, 6-1, 6-0.
In other action in the men's draw Saturday, 22-year-old rising star Grigor Dimitrov confirmed his recent progress by upsetting fellow up-and-comer Milos Raonic of Canada 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (12-10).
The Bulgarian will next face surprising Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, who followed up his upset of Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro by clobbering Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
Four-time champion Roger Federer, the No. 6 seed, continued his impressive start to this year's Australian Open by cruising to a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili.
That set up a marquee round of 16 match-up between the Swiss great and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-2 winner over countryman Gilles Simon.
Monday's other fourth round match in the top half of the men's draw will pit Andy Murray, the No. 4 seed, against Frenchman Stephane Robert.
Murray topped Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-2, while Robert defeated Slovak Martin Klizan 6-0, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.
In women's play on Saturday, 20-year-old Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza continued to make her presence felt on the WTA Tour, following up her tournament victory in Hobart last week - the first title of her career - by reaching the Australian Open fourth round.
Muguruza moved through with a come-from-behind 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over 10th-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki and will next face fifth-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska, a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 winner over Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, the No. 2 seed and defending champion, defeated Austrian Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-0 to set up a much-anticipated showdown against American Sloane Stephens, a 7-5, 6-4 winner over Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.
That match will be a rematch of last year's Australian Open semifinals, which Azarenka won en route to the title.
Third-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova also moved into the round of 16 with a 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) victory over Frenchwoman Alize Cornet. EFE