Murraywatch: Melzer destroyed
Andy Murray has just torn the 11th-best player in the world to shreds, dropping a mere five games in the process, and looks in magnificent form going into the quarter-finals.
For non-tennis fanatics, his demolition of Jurgen Melzer warrants context to emphasise just how impressive it was.
At the weekend, the world number 199, Bernard Tomic, caused constant trouble for the world number one, Rafa Nadal, and the world number 152, Milos Raonic, beat the 10th seed Mikhail Youzhny.
Even today, number 46 beat number four as Dolgopolov put out Soderling.
This is men's tennis. Strength in depth, no mugs. The seeds are often ripe for picking at tournaments such as these.
Murray took his record against Melzer to 5-0 in career meetings. Photo: AP
But Melzer, a man who will move into the top 10 next Monday, a man in the form of his life, was outclassed, dismantled and left for dead.
As early as midway through set two the Austrian's racquet went flying with frustration, Murray simply wasn't giving him a thing.
The 2010 runner-up's unforced error count stood at a miserly 10 by the end.
Everything seemed to be coming off the centre of the racquet, he returned particularly well, and the serve hit new heights towards the end as he powered to 136mph and hit 13 aces, seven in a third set which brought its own challenges.
By this stage Melzer was resorting to hit-and-hope wallops from the baseline - Murray just moved left, moved right, soaked up the pressure, dealt with the pace. Eventually Melzer would miss, or Murray would counter-punch his way to a winner.
It was fabulous to watch.
He dropped six games in the first round, seven in the second, four in the third and five in the fourth. No player has won more than three games in a single set against him.
It's this ruthless efficiency which preserves energy for the final three rounds, a definite bonus, and the intensity has been good throughout. Real progress.
"I feel good but the matches are definitely going to get tougher," he said afterwards.
"I'm not expecting to go through the tournament winning matches like that, with that scoreline, so I'm ready for that mentally when it does get tough."
Last year in the quarter-finals, Murray played Nadal - this time it's something a little different:The unorthodox "Sasha" Dolgopolov. This is the Ukrainian's Australian Open main draw debut and only his fourth major.
To get this far is incredible but it would take a stunning upset to continue his run, Murray should have way too much guile for him. The adventure continues.