Roger Federer believes Bernard Tomic's confidence will make him harder to beat at the Australian Open on Saturday.
The duo will meet at Melbourne Park for the second straight year after advancing from their second-round matches in comfortable fashion on Thursday.
While Tomic extended his unbeaten start to the year to 10 matches with a four-set win over German Daniel Brands, Federer easily disposed of Russian Nikolay Davydenko.
Federer is yet to see much of Tomic this year but pinpointed greater consistency from the Australian as one of the reasons for his improvement.
Asked if Tomic would be harder to break because of his bigger serve, Federer said: "I would think so.
"Plus with his confidence, that is also going to help him in the bigger moments to stay more calm. Who knows?
"Then again, you just have to bring it time and time again. Some guys return some serves better than others. I hope I return his good. Last year I did.
"I have a feeling this surface is just a tiny bit faster. That may help all of us feeling like we're serving better. But then again, maybe he is serving better. That may be the case for him.
"He's done a nice job of holding his serve, putting pressure on the return. I'll find out many, many things in a few days."
A meeting with Tomic is perhaps a tougher challenge than world number two Federer would have wanted in the third round.
But Federer said he was looking forward to the 'difficult' match-up having beaten Tomic in their only three matches.
"I guess he's learned a lot in the last year. It's been a year of being a younger player on tour," he said.
"I went through the same sort of thing, ups and downs, playing on the big courts, playing on the smaller courts, playing against all the different opponents for the first time. It's tricky.
"It's nice he's been able to turn it around after a tough end of the year last year. It seems he's playing well. Obviously a difficult match-up in terms of early in the tournament, but I've got to be ready, so I'm looking forward to the match."
A characteristically humble Federer would not be drawn into building up the hype around an already highly anticipated affair.
"At the end of the day, you got to wait for the match. I don't read the press, so I don't think it's going to affect me," he said.
"I don't know if he's going to wake up in the morning, first thing in the morning, and go to the coffee shop and read the paper.
"I used to be like that when I was a lot younger, and I stopped doing it a long time ago. It has a big effect on you if you care what people write about you and think of you."