Andrey Rublev eased into his accustomed position in Week 2 of a major on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 thrashing of Britain’s Dan Evans at the Australian Open.
The fifth seed has advanced to the fourth round of a Grand Slam on nine previous occasions and has now beaten Evans in four of their seven meetings dating to 2016 at a Challenger in Dallas.
Rublev, who started the first round by ousting former finalist Dominic Thiem, needed just over two hours to move through.
The winner of four titles last season warned that he is in dangerous form.
“This week, match by match,I’m playing better. I’m feeling better, which is good.
“Game-wise, physical-wise I’m feeling also good; the beginning of the season wasn’t good. I lost two matches against two players straightaway (in the two Adelaide ATP events).
“When I arrived here, I had lost a bit of confidence.”
He sent down 10 aces, broke on four of 15 chances and fired 60 winners against an outclassed opponent who could only manage 20.
Rublev will next aim for revenge after losing to Holger Rune last November in the Paris Masters third round. The Dane defeated Ugo Humbert of France 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(5).
“It’s going to be challenging for him, and I have nothing to lose,” the seed said. “He won our first match, so he will feel a bit of pressure to win again.
“I just need to go there, to do my best, and we’ll see. Nothing changes if you lose to a player once or twice.”
Evans admitted he went down to the better player: “Andrey was too good. He played some good tennis,” the Briton said.
“I didn’t do too much wrong, I had obviously a little chance in the first with a break point – but I didn’t take it.”
Alex de Minaur thrilled a packed house of home fans on Laver with his 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-1 defeat of Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi in just over two hours.
The Aussie equalled his Melbourne career best of the fourth round from 2022 as he advanced with seven breaks of serve.
“I’m happy to do it (fourth round) in back-to-back years, and give myself
another chance and opportunity to go deep in my home Slam, which is ultimately what I want to be doing.
“If you want to go deep, and really want to take it to the best players
in the world, that’s the game plan (for the second week of a major).
“You’ve got to step it up. It’s no secret that against the best in the world
you can’t just put the ball in the court and wait for them to miss – that’s just not gonna happen.
“Today I did what I needed to do and got the job done, so we move on.”
Amrican JJ Wolf managed to survive the third round cull which struck his compatriots, defeating fellow American Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
Main photo:- Andrey Rublev (xxx) wins third round match Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd