Roger Federer emphasised his credentials as a serious contender for the Australian Open with a spectacular demolition of Tomas Berdych on Rod Laver Arena.
Now 35 and seeded 17th following an injury-plagued 2016, Federer acknowledged before the tournament that he was "clearly an underdog" and had been anticipated to face a stiff test on Friday against Berdych - a quarter-finalist or better in his last six visits to Melbourne Park.
However, the Czech found himself outclassed as the 17-time grand slam champion dominated proceedings with a performance reminiscent of those he produced so regularly during his peak.
Federer, who had been below his best in the opening rounds, dropped just 14 points on serve and clinically converted four out of five break-point opportunities as he triumphed 6-2 6-4 6-4 in an hour and 30 minutes.
Next up for the Swiss is a mouthwatering last-16 tie against Kei Nishikori, with world number one Andy Murray the likely quarter-final opponent for the winner.
Should Federer maintain the form he showed against Berdych, he will surely feel a fifth Australian Open title is a realistic goal.
Berdych only made one unforced error in the opening set, but was still comprehensively beaten as his more aggressive opponent dictated the play.
A run of seven games in succession put Federer in total control, leading by a set and a break and, although Berdych eventually started to hold serve again, the 10th seed was unable to make any impression when returning.
The second set was wrapped up by Federer with the minimum of fuss and the same pattern continued in the third - his victory completed in fitting fashion as a cross-court backhand yielded his 40th winner of the match.
Federer  bt Berdych  6-2 6-4 6-4
Federer - 40/17
Berdych - 26/14
Federer - 8
Berdych - 13
BREAK POINTS WON
Federer - 4/5
Berdych - 0/0
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Federer - 59
Berdych - 63
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Federer - 95/59
Berdych - 84/30
Federer - 85
Berdych - 66