Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray hit top gear yesterday as warhorse Lleyton Hewitt capitalised on Andy Roddick's retirement to reach the third round. Serena Williams was also at her destructive best with Petra Kvitova the only top seed given trouble on day four.
Hewitt was handed easy passage when Roddick strained a hamstring, ending the clash of the old stagers. "It's a nightmare for both of us," said Hewitt, who was leading the night match 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 when Roddick called it quits. "He stretched something high in his leg and it was hard for me to concentrate at the other end."
Djokovic expended little energy in his 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 hit-out against Colombia's Santiago Giraldo as he speeds towards an expected semi-final with Murray, his victim in last year's title match. Two-time finalist Murray, whose new coach Ivan Lendl sat swathed in a towel against the evening chill, raced through the first set in just 23 minutes as he beat France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Serena brought up her 500th career win, against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, to keep up her record of reaching the third round in every Grand Slam she has entered apart from her debut, in Melbourne in 1998. Second seed Kvitova had a trickier assignment against Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, but she kept her frustrations in check to survive a mid-match lapse 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
Meanwhile former champion Maria Sharapova made light of her total lack of competitive tennis this year as she thrashed US qualifier Jamie Hampton 6-0, 6-1, after dispatching Giselo Dulko by an identical score in the first round.