Australian wildcard Jordan Thompson has pulled off the biggest win of his blossoming career with a thrilling upset of former world No.3 David Ferrer at the Brisbane International.
Thompson, who has forged into the top 100 through Challenger success, showed the maturity and composure of an ATP tour veteran to fight back and bundle out Ferrer on Wednesday evening.
The Sydney 22-year-old was the first player to eliminate a seed from the tournament with the 4-6 7-5 7-5 victory in two hours and 38 minutes at Pat Rafter Arena.
With Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt cheering on in his box, Thompson scrapped superbly from the baseline against the Spanish veteran.
Thompson, boasting a bigger serve and forehand, upped his aggression after losing the first set but gave up a break in both the second and third to the former French Open finalist before holding his nerve to break back for both.
He finally clinched the second round clash with his fifth match point thanks to a marathon rally where he outlasted a wily player renowned for his warrior-like qualities.
It even prompted Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard to exclaim on Twitter: “sick match point”.
Thompson now must recover in time play his first ATP quarter-final on Friday against world No.5 Kei Nishikori who also had to come from behind to beat American qualifier Jared Donaldson 4-6 6-4 6-3 on Wednesday.
“I was feeling pretty good until the last rally,” he said. “I don’t know how many balls the last rally was, but yeah, definitely felt (the body) after that rally.
“It’s impossible to wear down David Ferrer.”
Thompson’s previous career highlight was getting through to last year’s French Open second round where he lost 12-10 in the fifth to Ivo Karlovic.
A measure of Thompson’s Brisbane display was that Bernard Tomic was bundled out 6-3 7-5 by Ferrer in the first round.
Ferrer was the second men’s seed to fall at the Queensland Tennis Centre, just after Frenchman Lucas Pouille surrendered in the second round due to a foot injury.
Pouille, the world No.14, was trailing Brit Kyle Edmund 6-3 3-1 when he retired three games after receiving treatment for blisters.
The sixth seed was backing up 24 hours after coming back from 0-5 down to beat compatriot Gilles Simon in straight sets on Tuesday.
Edmund is now set to meet world No.4 and tournament second seed Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals.