Bernard Tomic too strong for Richard Gasquet
Bernard Tomic outfoxed ninth-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet today in another impressive display to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Tomic, at 20 the youngest man left in the men's draw, extended his stellar run at the grass-court grand slam into a second week with a 7-6 (9-7) 5-7 7-5 7-6 (7-5) upset win.
The Australian world No 59 progressed to the last 16 at Wimbledon for the second time and he will face seventh-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, who defeated South African Kevin Anderson.
Another win would likely set up quarter-final showdown with top seed Novak Djokovic, the player who beat him in the 2011 quarter-finals at the All England Club.
Playing without the court-side support of his banned father and coach, Tomic seemed to lap up the big stage first-up on Wimbledon's Centre Court.
And some 15,000 supporters were treated to an entertaining match as Tomic was forced to test his full range of skills against the crafty Frenchman.
In stark contrast to his opening encounters against big-hitting Americans Sam Querrey and James Blake, this was more an exercise in tactics and touch.
Neither player broke serve in a high-quality first set, with Tomic digging himself out of several service holes to send the match to a tiebreaker.
He edged it with a remarkable forehand drop shot to take a one-set lead.
Tomic was millimetres from taking the second set.
Up 5-4, Tomic had Gasquet 0-40 on serve and the Australian missed several passing shot opportunities.
After saving four set points, the Frenchman made him pay, breaking serve in the next game and serving out the set.
The same opportunity presented itself to Tomic in the third set but this time he didn't let it slip, converting a second set point opportunity with a great forehand retrieval.
Tomic was sublime in the fifth-set tiebreaker, converting his third match point with a big serve and celebrating with his arms outstretched.
"I'm very happy. I played a very a good match and it's difficult coming out first on Centre Court," Tomic said.
"I was very nervous but I couldn't ask any more of myself.
"I'm happy with the way I'm going and hopefully I can keep it up."
The victory snapped an 11-match losing streak against top 10 players on the tour and helped Tomic put a dramatic few months further behind.
John Tomic has been suspended from the tour for a year after being charged with assaulting Bernard's former training partner, Frenchman Thomas Drouet.
BERDYCH POWERS ON
Anderson could be forgiven for never wanting to set eyes on Berdych again after the Czech beat him for a ninth successive time at Wimbledon.
The seventh seed won 3-6 6-3 6-4 7-5 to set up a last-16 clash against feisty Australian Bernard Tomic.
Berdych and Anderson had played each other eight times in the last 18 months, and five times this year, with the former Wimbledon finalist winning on every occasion.
The 27th-seeded Anderson stands 2.03 metres tall and possesses one of the best serves in the game, but he was cut down to size by the heavy-hitting Czech who overcame losing the first set to scrap his way into the lead.
It was far from comfortable for 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Berdych, however, as he came close to being extended into a fifth set having won his opening two rounds in three.
Anderson served for the fourth set leading 5-3, but could not close it out and Berdych, who needed some treatment on his back, finished him off three games later, wrapping up victory with a service winner on his second match point.
After losing in the first and fourth rounds in the two year's since his charge to the final, the heavy-hitting Czech looks in the mood for another long run.
"In terms of my game, I think everything's going well," Berdych said. "Just dropped a set, which is actually good to face a bit of a challenge, not only winning 3-0 which could be really tricky because then you need to face a tough situation against a tough opponent.
"This is good that I have a match like this also for building up some confidence again."