Bernard Tomic has survived a nerve-wracking one-set shootout to safely advance to the second round at Wimbledon.
Tomic overcame two more rain delays and Fernando Verdasco’s ferocious firepower to prevail 4-6 6-3 6-3 3-6 6-4 in a tense first-round battle continuing on from Tuesday.
The 19th seed joins fellow Australians Nick Kyrgios, John Millman, Daria Gavrilova and Samantha Stosur in the second round, with Matt Barton hoping to follow suit later on Wednesday.
Tomic resumed with his match on a knife edge at two sets apiece after anxiously waiting another hour after the scheduled restart before the covers were removed from court three at the All England Club.
Verdasco gifted the 2011 quarter-finalist an early opportunity to break with two double-faults in the first game upon the resumption, but Tomic was unable to capitalise.
But he gained the decisive break four games later, much to the delight of Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, who bellowed a signature “come onnnnn” from Tomic’s courtside box in celebration.
Tomic had to hold his nerve and serve from love-40 down to consolidate for 5-3 after fighting off five break points, only for light drizzle to force the players off once more for another four hours.
He finally put Verdasco away after two hours and 45 minutes of on-court action, despite the one-time Australian Open semi-finalist firing down 28 aces to Tomic’s 11 and clubbing 69 winners to 51.
The Australian No.2 will return on Thursday to play Moldovan qualifier Radu Albot for a likely crack at 14th seed Roberto Bautista-Agut.
Barton resumed his first-round clash with fellow qualifier Albano Olivetti trailing the Frenchman by a set and with the score locked at 5-5 in the second-set tiebreaker.
He quickly drew level by taking the breaker before clinching the third set before rain halted play with Barton leading 6-7 (7-9) 6-6 (7-5) 6-3 in his Wimbledon main-draw debut.
Kyrgios opened his campaign on Tuesday with a typically lively 6-4 6-3 6-7 (9-11) 6-1 win over Radek Stepanek, Millman edged out Albert Montanes 7-5 4-6 5-7 6-4 6-3 and Daria Gavrilova rallied for a spirited 2-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Qiang Wang.
Stosur beat Magda Linette in straight sets on Monday, but the 14th seed will have to wait another day to face former finalist Sabine Lisicki after the grim weather wiped their second-round contest from Wednesday’s schedule.