Bernard Tomic has overcame London’s extreme heat and humidity to set up a likely Wimbledon blockbuster with world No.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic.
Tomic complained of dizziness as temperatures nudged 30 degrees but showed true grit to grind out a 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-5) second-round win over talented young Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Wednesday.
Australia’s 27th seed required medical assistance late in the third set but dug deep to prevail after one hour and 59 minutes.
His struggles in the sapping conditions aside, Tomic delivered a high-quality performance against a dangerous opponent who’d beaten him last year in Kuala Lumpur.
He was particularly impressive on serve.
Landing 72 per cent of first deliveries, Tomic barely dropped a point on serve in the opening set and the only break points he faced in the entire match came in the game immediately after seeking treatment at 5-4 in the second set.
But he hung tough to hold from 15-40 and secure a two-sets-to-love lead.
The French qualifier needed 21 aces to stay in the fight in a match featuring just one service break.
But Tomic’s class and experience shone through as the world No.27 recovered from 4-1 down in the third-set tiebreaker to live up to his seeding status.
Unless Jarkko Nieminen, the Finnish veteran who ousted Lleyton Hewitt in round one, can conjure one of the great boilovers later on Wednesday against Djokovic, Tomic will face the Serbian titleholder on Friday for a place in the last 16.
The pair squared off in the 2011 quarter-finals, with Djokovic edging Tomic in four sets before going on to lift the trophy for the first time.