The furrowed brow was replaced with the trademark smile as Rafa Nadal began to look more like a seven-times French Open champion and the sun finally shone at Roland Garros on Saturday.
The Spaniard was again tested, this time by flamboyant but frustrating Italian Fabio Fognini, but after dropping sets in his opening two rounds and raging at his rain-hit schedule, his 7-6(5) 6-4 6-4 victory was just what the doctor ordered.
Defending women's champion Maria Sharapova and third seed Victoria Azarenka both bludgeoned their way past stubborn opponents into the last 16.
Sharapova recovered from a 4-1 second-set deficit against China's Zheng Ji to win 6-1 7-5 after the equally noisy Azarenka battled to a three-set victory over Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.
Azarenka's 4-6 6-3 6-1 victory put her on collision course with former champion Francesca Schiavone, who ended the hopes of another home favourite with a 6-2 6-1 defeat of Marion Bartoli.
Few players, Roger Federer included, can swagger on to court quite like Fognini, and at times during the opening set against Nadal the 27th seed produced strokes the Swiss great would have been proud of.
He carved out opportunities, breaking to lead 4-2 in the opening set with some scintillating tennis, but then immediately played some rash strokes to allow the third seed back in.
Nadal then failed to convert three set points on Fognini's serve in the 10th game and was broken in the following game as the opener went to a tiebreak.
The crowd were on their feet when Nadal won an incredible rally at 4-4, soaking up some heavy hitting from Fognini before curling a topspin lob on to the baseline and picking off a volley after the Italian somehow clawed it back.
Fognini hurled his racket into the sky and booted it across the clay after losing another spellbinding rally, and Nadal, despite never looking completely assured against an unpredictable opponent, began to get a grip.
Nadal's next opponent comes in the shape of Kei Nishikori, who became the first Japanese player to reach the fourth round here since 1938 when he beat Frenchman Benoit Paire, who was docked a penalty point for receiving coaching.
Paire, who was first warned for mangling a racket frame, ranted at umpire Enric Molina after being given a penalty point on a set point in the 10th game of the second set during his 6-3 6-7(3) 6-4 6-1 defeat, and later pleaded double standards.
"I'm sure that if it was a top-five (player), they would never have done that, never taken the decision to say 'warning', 'penalty point' at that moment," the 24-year-old Paire said.
"They would never do it because they know full well that you just can't do that sort of thing."
With 15-times grand slam champion Serena Williams enjoying a day off after motoring through to the last 16 on Friday, three less-decorated American women took their chance to grab the limelight, led by Jamie Hampton.
She knocked out former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-1 7-6(7), Sloane Stephens emulated her run to last year's fourth round with a three-set victory over New Zealand's Marina Erakovic, and unseeded Bethanie Mattek-Sands beat Argentine Paula Ormaechea.
It is the first time four American women have reached the last 16 at Roland Garros since 2004 and the first time at a grand slam since that year's U.S. Open.
"It's awesome," Mattek-Sands said. "I'm so happy that U.S. tennis is coming on strong."