Roger Federer set up a juicy third round clash with former Australian Open champion Marat Safin after finally subduing a stubborn Evgeny Korolev 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 on Wednesday.
Federer, who is seeking to equal Pete Sampras's record of 14 grand slam wins with his fourth at Melbourne Park, was more than matched by the Russian qualifier in the opening two sets before romping away with the third.
The 27-year-old Federer enthralled the crowd packed into Rod Laver Arena with some audacious shot-making but Korolev also joined in and his wristy racket work provided some anxious moments for the world number two.
Safin, a former Australian and U.S. Open champion, crushed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.
The last time Federer met Safin at the Australian Open, the big Russian won a mammoth five-set semi-final and went on to claim the title.
Safina safely through after slow start
Dinara Safina, chasing her first grand slam title, recovered from a terrible start to beat fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 in the second round.
Safina lost the opening set in a tiebreak despite fighting her way back from 5-1 behind and was still struggling to impose herself on the match early in the second.
It was not until midway through the second set that Safina finally seized control, reeling off nine game in a row in an awesome demonstration of her ability.
"After I lost the first set, I really played my game," she said.
"I really stepped in and I was going for my shots. I think I played a good match today.
"I had a slow start. I think I played poorly until 5-1, I didn't do anything. I was waiting for her mistakes.
"I played a poor tiebreak but once I lost it, I was like, 'if I don't change, I'll go home.'"
Safina blamed her poor start on her reluctance to play aggressively, a problem that hampered her early career.
Djokovic overcomes Chardy
Champion Novak Djokovic eased into the third round with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-3 demolition of France's Jeremy Chardy on Wednesday. The 21-year-old Serb struggled initially against Chardy in an even first set, breaking just once in the 12th game, before he romped away with the second and third.
After failing to send the opener to a tiebreak, Chardy's game felt apart in the second set and the Frenchman managed to win just seven points, two of which were on Djokovic's serve.
The world number three continued his domination in the deciding set, romping to a 4-0 lead before his 21-year-old opponent got on the scoreboard.
Chardy briefly raised hopes of a recovery by breaking Djokovic when he was serving for the match, but he was unable to stop the third seed's march into the next round.
Ivanovic grinds down Brianti
Fifth seed Ana Ivanovic produced another stuttering performance but still managed to beat a dogged Alberta Brianti 6-3, 6-2 in the second round.
Ivanovic, who also failed to dazzle in her victory over Julia Goerges on Monday, produced a similar effort on Rod Laver Arena to set up a third-round match with either Russia's Alisa Kleybanova or France's Stephanie Cohen-Aloro.
The 21-year-old Serb, beaten finalist at Melbourne Park last year, established an early lead and while Brianti dragged out the eighth game with eight deuces to hold serve, Ivanovic sealed the set on the next game.
Brianti was forced to take a medical time out for treatment on a back injury after Ivanovic jumped out to a 3-0 second set lead and the break had the initial impact of helping her take the next two games.
However, Ivanovic wrestled back control of the contest to complete victory in 92 minutes.
Jankovic passes Flipkens test
Serbia's world number one Jelena Jankovic booked her place in the third round with a testing 6-4, 7-5 win over Kirsten Flipkens Wednesday.
The top seed was given a solid workout by her Belgian opponent before sealing victory in one hour and 46 minutes.
Jankovic, who is chasing her first grand slam title as well, will next face Japan's Ai Sugiyama Friday.
David Nalbandian upset
Meanwhile, Argentina's David Nalbandian became the highest ranked men's player to be knocked out of the Australian Open when he was beaten 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 by Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun in the second round on Wednesday.
The 10th-seeded Nalbandian squandered six break point opportunities in the final game before Lu produced a winning forehand to seal the victory in three hours, 55 minutes.
The victory moved Lu into the third round of a grand slam for the first time and he will meet Spain's Tommy Robredo, who thrashed Serbia's Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.