Spanish tennis ironman David Ferrer stared down Frenchman Jeremy Chardy to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.
The No.3 seed was down three set points in the ninth game of the second set but never looked like blinking as he saved them all on the way to a 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 victory.
“That was the key, when I won the second set,” said Ferrer.
“In the first set and part of the second I was playing well, without mistakes.
“But at 4-3 in the second set I did a lot of mistakes and at 5-3 for him I had the set points down.
“But finally I won the second set and in the third I played more quietly.
“It was already difficult for him because he had a lot of chances in the second.
“I am happy, but maybe it was not my best match of the week.”
Ferrer, 31, has now reached the fourth round or better at each of the last 15 grand slam tournaments.
The seemingly indestructible Spaniard has also contested the last 45 majors on the trot.
Ferrer’s next opponent will be German journeyman Florian Mayer, who advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time in 10 attempts with a straight-sets victory over Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz.
The 30-year-old Mayer won 7-5 6-2 6-2 against Janowicz, the No.20 seed from Poland.
Janowicz had been lucky to get through the opening round, where he had to come back from a two-set deficit against impressive Australian wildcard Jordan Thompson.
Janowicz said he had yet to fully recover from a broken foot, which had prevented him practising for two months.
“My problem today was that I was unprepared and I had played two matches in a row that went for over three hours,” he said.
“In the second round, it was three hours and 30 minutes and it was extremely hot, over 41 degrees and I was really exhausted for this match.
“Because I didn’t practise much, I was not able to get ready for the next match.
“Today I was completely kaput.”
Janowicz missed last year’s Davis Cup World Group playoff loss to Australia due to a back injury.
No.7 seed Tomas Berdych was untroubled in ending the Open run of Bosnian Damir Dzumhur, with the Czech winning 6-4 6-2 6-2.