Watch: Federer, Nadal stay on track as Sharapova sets up Wozniacki showdown
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Watch: Federer, Nadal stay on track as Sharapova sets up Wozniacki showdown

Roger Federer ground out a tough three-set win to make the Australian Open third round for an incredible 20th straight year Wednesday, with long-time rival Rafael Nadal also safely through in his drive towards an 18th Grand Slam title.

Federer might be 37 but he's not showing his age, with British qualifier Dan Evans the latest to fall under his spell as he works towards a third successive Australian crown and 21st major victory.

He defeated Evans at Wimbledon last year with the loss of just eight games, but it was a much harder assignment this time, winning 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.

"I think if I could have pulled away earlier in the match it might have been easier," said the third seed.

"I think he played very well, it was hard to pull away to his credit.

"The Swiss star's Australian achievements so far put him on a par with other six-time winners Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson -- although the Australian great's victories all came before the Open era.He next plays American Taylor Fritz.

If he goes on to win the tournament, he will become the first man ever to claim seven or more titles at two Grand Slams, having already won eight Wimbledons.

Women's defending champion Caroline Wozniacki also progressed to set up a mouth-watering clash next with in-form former world number one Maria Sharapova.

Dane Wozniacki, who is battling rheumatoid arthritis, steamrolled Sweden's Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-3 as she bids to become the first woman to defend the title since Victoria Azarenka in 2013.

It set up a tough clash with five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, who blitzed past Sweden's Rebecca Peterson 6-2, 6-1.

The Russian is in scintillating form and has dropped just three games in her opening two matches.

"I'm really happy with the way I performed," said Sharapova, adding that she was looking forward to the Wozniacki showdown.

"It's a tough third round but I have set up the challenge and I'm ready to go out there and take it."

Nadal had an easier route to round three, outclassing local hope Matthew Ebden 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

The Spaniard is bidding for his own slice of history by becoming the first man in the Open era, and only the third in history along with Emerson and Rod Laver, to win each Grand Slam on two or more occasions.

"I played a solid match, I was happy with the way I served. I did a few things very well," said Nadal, who next plays Australian Alex de Minaur. "It is an honour to play here. Was a great atmosphere."

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