Fourth-seed Stanislas Wawrinka outclassed Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to progress into the third-round of the Australian Open while Kei Nishikori’s second-round encounter with Jeremy Hardy wrapped up in the Japanese’s favour fairly comfortably.
It was in stark contrast to their first-round victories where Wawrinka was stretched to the limit against Martin Klizan in a marathon five-setter while Nishikori had to dig deep to beat Andrey Kuznetsov in a five-set tie that lasted over three and a half hours.
Nishikori, who enjoys huge support at the Australian Open, began his second round tie against his French opponent on the front foot and after breaking him early in the first set, never looked back.
While the second set saw Hardy put up a fight of sorts, Nishikori was having none of it and broke him in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, before serving out the set. He will now face Lucas Lacko of Slovakia, who beat Dudi Sela earlier in the day, in the next round.
Wawrinka, champion in 2014, began aggressively against the 30th-ranked Johnson, finishing the tie in less than two hours to set up a potential third-round clash with either Viktor Troicki or Paolo Lorenzi.
The ease of their victories cannot be overstated, as the conditions in Melbourne are expected to get tougher in the coming days and every ounce of energy saved now will definitely be utilised later.