The contenders are beginning to separate themselves from the rest of the competitive field at the 2015 Miami Open. Monday's action featured the women's fourth round, while the men were engaged in third-round play.
Defending champion and top men's seed Novak Djokovic had little trouble getting through to the round of 16, cruising in the first set before ultimately closing out Steve Darcis 6-0, 7-5.
After getting broken earlier in the second set, Djokovic didn't give Darcis any further hope of forcing the match to its fullest extent, breaking him at love with a world-class return, courtesy of TennisTV:
Djokovic seemed confident in his ability to get past his next opponent, unseeded Alexandr Dolgopolov.
"I know his game pretty well," said Djokovic of Dolgopolov, per ATPWorldTour.com. "I know what to expect. Hopefully I'll be able to start as well as I did in the first two matches, but then end it in a bit different way [and] keep the concentration going all the way through."
Many underdogs had their dreams of pulling off upsets crushed at this stage of the marquee Masters tournament at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park, with only one exception.
All of the favored, higher-seeded men advanced through on Monday besides No. 9 Grigor Dimitrov, who fell to hard-serving American John Isner by a score of 7-6 (2), 6-2.
Isner's game was on point. He smashed 15 aces and hit 73 percent of his first serves in play, which made life difficult for Dimitrov on the hard-court surfaces. A strong service showing preceded second-set woes for Dimitrov, who found success on only 40 percent of his first serves in a woeful second set.
Williams looks fully fit and capable of guarding the title in Miami after Monday's 6-2, 6-3 rout of Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Once the match had ended, Kuznetsova acknowledged Williams was too tough for her:
Three lower seeds pulled off upsets in the women's draw, though based on the victors' pedigrees, they didn't come as too big of a surprise.
No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki fell to 15th-seeded Venus Williams 6-3, 7-6 (1), and Sabine Lisicki dropped just three games in her triumph over No. 11 Sara Errani.
Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times referenced how dominant Williams has been head-to-head versus Wozniacki:
Williams overcame an unsavory serving day by pouncing on Wozniacki's second serves, winning 20 of 27 such points. She'll face an interesting test against Carla Suarez Navarro, who upset Agnieszka Radwanska to get to the final eight.
The BBC's David Law weighed in on Lisicki's recent resurgence, which began with a run to the Indian Wells semifinals:
Lisicki's powerful groundstrokes and serve translate well to the faster hard courts. The 2013 Wimbledon finalist will need to be in attack mode when facing Serena Williams in one of the better women's quarterfinal showdowns.
To cap off Monday's slate, rising women's star Simona Halep won the first set 6-3 against Flavia Pennetta before falling into an early 0-2 hole in the second. Halep then showed the heart of a champion in rallying to take the second 7-5, building on her momentum from her prior Indian Wells title.
Tennis.com's Matt Cronin analyzed Halep's strong recent form and looked ahead to her compelling quarterfinal against talented young American Sloane Stephens, who's still searching for her first WTA title:
There is plenty to look forward to in both the men's and women's tournaments, as many of the biggest names are still alive.
A similarly powerful player in Milos Raonic awaits Isner in the fourth round. Raonic played Monday's only three-set match but managed to prevail against Jeremy Chardy, pulling out a third-set tiebreaker 7-3 after losing the second 7-5 and winning the opening set 6-1.
Both Isner and Raonic are among the game's best when they're firing on all cylinders. Consistency will continue to be the key for each as they vie to punch a ticket to the quarterfinals.
The best men's match on Tuesday's slate figures to be Tomas Berdych and Gael Monfils. Either talented player has a great chance to move on to the semifinals, since they'll battle the winner of Fernando Verdasco and Juan Monaco.