Kvitova, Serena and Sharapova breeze through
Petra Kvitova made a huge statement of intent by breezing into the fourth round of the Australian Open, with her passage eased somewhat by an injury to her opponent Maria Kirilenko.
Kvitova was 6-0 1-0 to the good when Kirilenko, hampered by a thigh problem, opted to retire.
The No. 2 seed and Wimbledon champion, Kvitova, was decidedly under par in beating Carla Suarez Navarro in the previous round and that may have acted as a wake-up call as she overpowered Kirilenko from the outset.
Kirilenko was broken in the opening game and it set the tone, as she was 5-0 down when she called the trainer to apply heavy strapping to her left thigh. It made no difference, as Kvitova wrapped up the opening set - one in which she lost just 12 points.
Kvitova continued her dominance at the start of the second and it led to Kirilenko offering her hand in retirement.
Twelfth seed Serena Williams had a similarly straightforward passage into the fourth round, as she disposed of Greta Arn for the loss of just two games, eventually winning 6-1 6-1 in slightly less than an hour.
Williams didn't take long to adapt to the conditions at Rod Laver Arena, and gave her Hungarian opponent little hope of causing a surprise upset as her sheer power pushed and pulled Arn around the backcourt.
The American did seem to be slightly hampered by a left hamstring complaint that required heavy strapping, but it never threatened to derail her progress as she cruised into the second week of the tournament.
She will now face Ekaterina Makarova , who caused a real shock by taking out the seventh seed Vera Zvonareva. A tense first-set tiebreak went Makarova's way and from there it was one-way traffic as she claimed a 7-6(7) 6-1 win.
Ana Ivanovic produced a solid display on serve to claim a 6-3 6-4 win over Vania King. The Serbian has looked focused and fighting fit since linking up with coach Nigel Sears and she proved too good for King and will now meet Kvitova in the next round.
Maria Sharapova weathered a second-set storm from Angelique Kerber to book her place in round four.
Sharapova, the 2008 winner of the Australian Open, was in awesome form in the opening set - capitalising on an early break to seal the set in 31 minutes.
Kerber, the 30th seed, found some form in the second set - pummelling winners from the back of the court after being broken in her opening service game. The German broke back in a mammoth third game that lasted 15 minutes. She continued to trade blows with Sharapova, but from 2-2 her game started to unravel and this allowed the No. 4 seed to progress.
Sharapova powered down 34 winners in the match but of arguably more importance was the lack of errors on serve. She sent down just one double fault and made 73% of her first serves.
Sabine Lisicki's fine run of form continued, but she had to dig deep to claim a 2-6 6-4 6-2 over Svetlana Kuznetsova and her reward is a meeting with Sharapova.
Sara Errani rallied from the loss of the first set to take out Sorana Cirstea. Romania Cirstea produced some superb play in the first set, which she took by way of a tie-break. But she appeared restricted by a lower back problem in the second and could not raise her game as Errani claimed a 6-7(6) 6-0 6-2 win.
Errani's reward for her win is a meeting with Jie Zheng who took out the No. 9 seed Marion Bartoli 6-3 6-3.