Nick Kyrgios has survived a huge scare to reach the Wimbledon third round with a dramatic five-set victory over German giantkiller Dustin Brown.
Kyrgios had to fight back from two sets to one down and overcome two lengthy rain delays and another showdown with the chair umpire to advance with a pulsating 6-7 (3-7) 6-1 2-6 6-4 6-4 win on Friday.
Australia’s 15th seed had enough on his plate dealing with Brown, a proven grasscourt specialist who took out Rafael Nadal last year and Lleyton Hewitt in 2013, without clashing with officials.
But the match erupted at the start of the third set when Kyrgios saw red after American umpire Jake Garner ruled a double-bounce against him.
Replays appeared to confirm Kyrgios had in fact Kyrgios reached the ball in time after lunging forward to scoop up a Brown drop volley on the very first point of the third set.
“Are you kidding me right now?” Kyrgios steamed.
“I got that, mate. I got underneath with my racquet.
“Not that it matters because he would have had an easy ball, but that’s just horrendous by you guys once again.”
Brown agreed and, rattled by the incident, Kyrgios lost focus and immediately dropped serve the next game to fall behind 2-0.
Kyrgios then drew a code violation from Garner – on advice from a linesman – for an audible obscenity after venting his frustration towards his box.
But Kyrgios received support from his opponent, who lashed the umpire for not only the double-hop blunder but for calling a let on a serve the German deemed to have cleared the net by a foot.
“You have (upset) both players now,” Brown blasted.
“You think that’s normal, that both players are complaining?
“You call that a double-hop when it wasn’t and then you call that a let.”
Brown kept his nerve to convert his early service break into a two-sets-to-one lead.
Kyrgios did well not to mentally unravel and seized a decisive break in the third game of the fourth set to force a fifth just one hour and 39 minutes into the match.
Kyrgios, also upset over a “ridiculous” foot fault called against him and by a linesman apparently laughing, had Brown down break point serving at 3-3 in the fifth set when more rain forced the players off for another 90 minutes.
Brown saved the break point with a delightful backhand drop volley but then fired two shots wildly long to gift Kyrgios a match-winning advantage.
He made no mistake closing out the contest to book a third-round date on Saturday with either Spanish No.22 seed Feliciano Lopez or Italian Fabio Fognini.
The controversies overshadowed an otherwise high-quality encounter between two of the finest shot-makers in tennis, with Kyrgios finishing with 27 aces and 55 winners.
Fellow Australian Matt Barton was trailing John Isner 7-6 (10-8) 7-6 (7-3) 3-5 in his rain-interrupted second-round match despite having yet to drop serve against the American 18th seed.