Andy Murray moved into the Australian Open last 16 as the Briton finally got the measure of France's Michael Llodra in a 6-4 6-2 6-0 win.
The Scot clung to a break in the third game of the opener, despite Llodra's pressurising forays to the net.
The Frenchman's resistance faded as his serve faltered in the second, while the third proved straightforward for Murray as fatigue put paid to Llodra.
Unseeded Kazakhstani Mikhail Kukushkin awaits Murray in the fourth round.
Murray, 24, is looking for a third successive final but French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and world number one Novak Djokovic are likely to be obstacles in his way.
"Every point seemed to be a fun point. He was coming up with some unbelievable gets on the volleys and I was managing to dig up a lot at the net," he said.
"[Coach] Ivan Lendl would have preferred a few more bread and butter points, serve and forehand finish, but that was my style of tennis tonight."
Serve-volley expert Llodra spoke before the match of his determination to attack Murray and questioned whether the world number four was too passive in his own tactics.
The 31-year-old was true to his word, attacking the net between flurries of deep slice backhands, challenging Murray to hit winners past him.
After Murray had swivelled on a forehand to take one of three break points in the third game of the first set, it appeared the tactic might help the world number 46 strike back.
Llodra had break points in the fourth, sixth and eighth games, but failed to take any before Murray wrongfooted his opponent with a backhand pass to seal the set.
Murray made early inroads again in the second with a break in Llodra's first service game of the set.
After receiving treatment on a troublesome knee, Llodra's first serve deserted him in the seventh game, giving Murray a chance to latch on to his far weaker second and force another break.
Between them the players produced a spellbinding pair of points in the subsequent game as a scurrying Murray consolidated his break and moved the match into a third set.
The moments of sublime touch from Llodra that had decorated the first two sets dried up as his reserves of energy ran empty in the final set lasting just 23 minutes.
Fellow Briton Colin Fleming and his American partner Liezel Huber moved into the second round of the mixed doubles with a 7-5 6-2 defeat of Raquel Kops-Jones and Eric Butorac.
Kops-Jones and Butorac were late replacements for the more established pair of Daniel Nestor and Maria Kirilenko, after the Russian woman injured her upper leg in her singles defeat by Petra Kvitova earlier.