Benoit Paire is not without talent or power, but he found out quickly on Rod Laver Arena that it takes more than just a few moving parts to take down the great Roger Federer.
In a master class performance, the Swiss dismantled the Frenchman 6-2 6-4 6-1 in just one hour and 23 minutes to move into the second round.
The improved Paire was said by some to have enough in his arsenal to make the four-time Australian Open champion uncomfortable, but he never came close to seriously troubling Federer.
After a rapid-fire first set in which he overwhelmed the 23-year-old with his serve, his whizzing forehand and impressive movement, Federer was able to use the contest as an extended practice session.
He chipped and charged on occasion, mixed spins and speeds with his one-handed backhand and was willing to take big cuts with his clicking forehand from all over the court
Federer won the second set with a huge serve and clean forehand winner, followed by another service bomb and heavy topspin backhand that Paire couldn’t handle.
With the crowd urging him on through almost every point, he cracked nine winners to win the third set, including five for five on net charges, much to the delight of his coach, Paul Annacone, an old net rusher himself
Federer grabbed the contest when he chipped and charged with an unusual forehand slice, forcing an error off his opponent's racket.
“When you're in the lead, you feel better, you feel less pressure, you try a few things to see if those works and then you have options up your sleeve,” Federer said.
“I'm obviously very happy with this first-round match, so total control. He can be a tricky opponent, but I guess his playing style doesn't disturb me that much overall. I'm happy I was able to play a clean match out there today.”
He completed the match with 25 winners.
Paire said he couldn't read Federer at all, which came as no surprise to the Swiss, who has competed against players of all sizes and stripes and of all levels.
“I guess the advantage for us as top players is that we do play against top players more often than they do, so we're used to maybe bigger serves all around, better movement, more unpredictable stuff, which they don't get the opportunity obviously to play against,” Federer said.
“So that's I think an advantage for us.”
The 31-year-old Swiss is trying to become only the second man to win five Australian titles. The other player to do so, Aussie Roy Emerson, holds the record with six crowns.