Trust Lleyton Hewitt to make a meal of it. The 33-year-old Australian has made a career out of winning marathon contests and even when he faced an opponent on a 13-match losing streak here he took his time.
There were more than three hours on the clock on No 3 Court before the 2002 Wimbledon champion put Michal Przysiezny out of his misery 6-2, 6-7, 6-1, 6-4 to book a second-round tie with another Pole, Jerzy Janowicz.
Everything would have been more straightforward if Hewitt had won a second-set tiebreak which lasted 78 minutes. The former world No 1, who had recovered after losing the first three games of the set, failed to convert seven set points in the tiebreak. Przysiezny won it 16-14 on his fourth set point after Hewitt double-faulted.
The Australian was furious with himself, but it was Przysiezny who bore the brunt of his anger. To the delight of a noisy group of "Fanatics" kitted out in Aussie green and gold, Hewitt won the first four games of the third set to resume control.
Przysiezny, who has not won a tour-level match since January, hit the ball cleanly enough, but Hewitt's grass-court mastery proved decisive. Roger Federer is the only current player who can better his record of 122 match wins and seven titles on the surface.
The latter stages of Hewitt's career have been interrupted by injuries and operations. His latest comeback followed major surgery, when cartilage was removed from a big toe, bone spurs were shaved off and a steel rod inserted.
"I feel fine," Hewitt said when asked about his physical condition. "It was just over three hours but I felt I could have kept going."
Janowicz, who beat India's Somdev Devvarman 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, is likely to offer a stiffer test. He reached the semi-finals here last year before losing to Andy Murray.Reuse content