MELBOURNE, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Defending champion Novak Djokovic and former champion Maria Sharapova advanced to the Australian Open on Saturday with their best starts in the first week of the very first Grand Slam of a year.
The Serbian world No. 1 Djokovic tossed aside Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in just 74 minutes for his third straight-sets demolition at Rod Laver Arena after women's No. 4 Sharapova beat unseeded German Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-2.
Djokovic, who dominated last year winning three of the four majors, has dropped only 10 games in his three wins and has spent only a combined 4hr 28min on court. While 81st seed Mahut needed to call the trainer several times because of a knee injury during his 6-1 6-1 6-0 defeat.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Portugal's Frederico Gil's run to an emphatic end in the third round with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win. The Frenchman will now face Kei Nishikori after he became the first Japanese man to reach the last 16 in Australian Open. Nishikori, who is now set to break into the world's top 20, beat Julien Benneteau 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3.
The men's destruction on the court were preceded by two equally one-sided women's matches.
Sharapova, who won the title in Melbourne four years ago, is also had the best start in her 35th Grand Slam appearance after losing just five games in the opening week.
Sharapova beat Angelique Kerber German Angelique Kerber with a 6-1, 6-2 victory while Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova also reached the fourth round more easily when Maria Kirilenko retired with a thigh injury when she was 6-0, 1-0 down. The No 2 seed now faces Ana Ivanovic.
No.7 seed Vera Zvonareva lost to fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova. Zheng Jie, a semi-finalist in Melbourne in 2010, beat Bartoli 6-3, 6-3 and will face Italian Sara Errani in the fourth round.
Later on Saturday, Serena Williams was dominant in her 6-1, 6-1 third-round win over Greta Arn to set up a clash against Ekaterina Makarova, who beat fellow Russian and seventh-seeded Vera Zvonareva earlier.