Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling came from two sets down to eliminate Lleyton Hewitt and reach the third round at Wimbledon on Thursday.
Soderling looked to be heading for an upset defeat after losing the opening two sets before digging out a gutsy 6-7 (5-7) 3-6 7-5 6-4 6-4 victory before an enthralled Centre Court.
Soderling had never won a match after trailing by two sets before but insisted he had stayed cool under pressure as Australia’s 2002 Wimbledon champion Hewitt appeared poised for an upset.
“You just have to take it one point at a time,” Soderling said. “But I felt that if I could raise my game a little bit I would have a chance.”
Soderling now faces either Australian teenager Bernard Tomic or Russia’s Igor Andreev in the next round.
It was a bitterly disappointing loss for Hewitt, whose world ranking plunged to a 13-year low of 130 earlier this month following a miserable sequence of results.
Yet the pugnacious right-hander from Adelaide had looked ready to snap his poor run with a vintage performance to take the opening two sets.
Hewitt rallied from 3-1 down in the first-set tiebreak to take the first, and then pulled off a diving backhand winner to break and go 5-3 up in the second set before holding to take a 2-0 lead.
But Soderling raised his service game over the next two sets, never giving Hewitt a sniff of a break and levelling to force the fifth set, which he claimed when his Australian opponent was broken in the 10th game.