Roger Federer had tennis aficionados drooling as he took apart giant Max Mirnyi to waltz into the fourth round of the Australian Open yesterday.
The world number one, confronted by the imposing 'Beast of Belarus' camped on the net, was irresistible as he won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour 49 minutes to cruise into the last 16.
Federer will now face unseeded German Tommy Haas tomorrow, who beat the six-time Grand Slam champion in an exhibition match at Kooyong last week.
It continued Federer's ominous start to the year's first Grand Slam tournament, not dropping a set in three matches.
"I haven't lost a set, I'm through to the fourth round, I have no injuries and I'm playing good tennis ... so it's all good news at the moment," Federer said after his win.
"I'm really looking forward to playing Tommy," he added. "He beat me in a heartbreaker the last time we played at the Australian Open in 2002 when he beat me 8-6 in the fifth set, so it's good we're playing again."
The sublime Swiss top seed cruised through the opening set in 25 minutes, breaking Mirnyi in the fourth game.
Mirnyi had two struggles to hold service in the third and fifth games of the second set and the giant Belorussian was taken to 10 deuces before he held for 3-2.
But the pressure told and Mirnyi cracked in the seventh game, serving a double-fault on double break point for Federer to go on and serve out for two sets to love lead.He broke in the opening game of the third set to seal Mirnyi's fate.
Federer only made 10 unforced errors in 28 games in an immaculate performance.
Michaella Krajicek claimed it was so hot that her eyes were burning and she could not see the ball.
Matches were suspended for at least four hours at the Australian Open yesterday when the temperature hit 35 degrees Celsius and increased to 40degrees in the mid-afternoon.
The 17-year-old Krajicek retired from her third-round match against third-seeded Amelie Mauresmo with heat stress after losing the first set 6-2. Krajicek had icebags around her neck during the match and had her temperature and pulse taken by trainers before telling the umpire, "I can't play."
"I felt like I was going to throw up," said Krajicek. "I couldn't even see the ball because my eyes were burning."
Officials suspended new matches on outside courts just before 1 p.m local time, enacting the extreme heat policy that measures conditions by combining the ambient air temperature and court surface temperature. But matches already in progress - including Krajicek's - continued.
The center-court roof over Rod Laver Arena was closed for the men's singles match between Tommy Haas of Germany and Australia's Peter Luczak in which the former prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
More of the same is expected for today, with the temperature forecast to reach 41 degrees. First-aid stations at the tournament were busy treating people with heat-related problems, including vomiting and dehydration. People sought shade wherever they could throughout Melbourne Park, under trees, on the concourses between courts, at refreshments stands.
Tim Wood, the tournament's chief medical officer, said players needed to prepare for the conditions well in advance.
"Some are better than others," he said. "Acclimatization is certainly a factor in how they can cope, and fitness. This is the first Grand Slam of the year and the fitter players cope better."
Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela, who beat Kristof Vliegen of Belgium 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 on Show Court 2, said "each point was an enormous effort."
"In some moments I felt too hot, I didn't feel like I had the energy to start the next point," he said. "But, to me, it was good because I won."