There was a bit of a stumble, but a Roger Federer win was never really in doubt in the third round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Friday. Federer overcame a second set bump to prevail over the man known as "Baby Fed" Grigor Dimitrov.
After breezing past his opponents in the first two rounds, Dimitrov, seeded 27, was expected to give the No.3 seed the stiffest test yet, and so it proved to be, with Federer needing to use all his experience and big match nous to pull off a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win, his 300th in Grand Slam singles.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic was also made to battle it out in the third round by Andreas Seppi, with the world number one pulling off a 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) win.
Earlier, Maria Sharapova was also given a scare, by American Lauren Davis, who took the second set off the Russian, before eventually succumbing. Sharapova won 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-0.
"I felt like I made it a little bit more difficult than I should have," Sharapova said after the match which lasted two hours and 14 minutes. "I definitely had a letup at 2-1, 30-Love. You know, felt like I was hitting the ball well, doing the right things to get in that position, then let up.
"In a Grand Slam environment against anyone you can't expect to get away with it, and I didn't in the second set. But overall really happy with how I came out in the third and stepped up, considering it's been many weeks since I've been in that position. So I was happy with the way I finished.
"I think I can take a lot of good things from that."
Another to be pushed a little more than he would have liked was Kei Nishikori, who was given a tough ride by No. 26 seed Guillermo Garcia Lopez. The No.7 seed, though, found a way through, fighting through a wrist injury to pick up a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
"It was little bit sore in the beginning, but after the treatment it was fine," Nishikori said of the wrist problem which has bother him for a while. "I'm sure it's going to be OK. Yeah, it was a really tough match. There was many long rallies.
"I have to give a lot of credit to him, because he was hitting really hard. I thought he was going to hit more spin, but he was hitting a lot of flat balls and it was going in. So it was tough to play.
"But I started playing much better in the third and fourth. I tried to dictate little more, tried to step in and use more forehands, and I think I was able to come in many times."
In the night session, Serena Williams did not spend too much time on court, cruising past Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 6-1.
Results: Women's singles: 1-Serena Williams bear Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 6-1; 4-Agnieszka Radwanska beat Monica Puig 6-4, 6-0; Anna-Lena Friedsam beat 13-Roberta Vinci 0-6, 6-4, 6-4; 5-Maria Sharapova beat Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-0; 12-Belinda Bencic beat Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Men's singles: 1-Novak Djokovic beat 28-Andreas Seppi 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6); 3-Roger Federer beat 27-Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4; 9-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (9-4); 15-David Goffin beat 19-Dominic Thiem 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5; 7-Kei Nishikori beat 26-Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.