Red-hot Bernard Tomic has racked up his 10th straight win of the summer to book a likely third-round Australian Open blockbuster with Roger Federer.
In heatwave conditions at Rod Laver Arena, Tomic kept his cool after dropping the opening set to see off big-serving German qualifier Daniel Brands 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (10-8) in two hours and 55 minutes on Thursday.
Tomic, who crunched 26 aces, is through to the Open's last 32 for the third consecutive summer and will almost certainly get the chance to reverse his fourth-round loss last year to Federer.
The 17-times grand slam champion will carry an imposing 17-2 win-loss record into his second-round clash later on Thursday against Russian veteran Nikolay Davydenko.
"He's an amazing player," Tomic said of Federer.
"I've had the opportunity to play him twice. I definitely got my arse kicked both times - here and in Cincinnati.
"If the opportunity comes, it's going to be an interesting match."
Should the Saturday night showstopper materialise, Tomic will fancy his chances of knocking over the grand slam king after serving up another treat against Brands.
Despite the tightness of the match, Tomic was rock solid in extending his highly impressive run of service holds to 76 games stretching back to the quarter-finals in Sydney last week.
The 20-year-old also found it almost impossible to make inroads on Brands' serve - but achieved the only break of the match and won both tiebreakers.The tall German took the opening set in a tiebreaker without offering up a solitary break point.Brands and Tomic continued to hold serve with ease right up until the 11th game of the second set when the Australian turned the match with a flash of brilliance.The youngster showed great foot speed and balance to whip a spectacular running forehand pass down the line to finally gain a break for 6-5.Tomic held his nerve to serve out the set from love-30 down and suddenly the match was back on level terms after an hour and 24 minutes."It's very difficult when you get a set down in these conditions," Tomic said. "The last thing you want is to get two sets down."I was able to turn it around in the second set."Incredibly, Brands didn't drop a single point on serve in the third set until double-faulting on the opening point of the pivotal tiebreaker.The mini break was all Tomic needed as he served out the set to nudge ahead for the first time.The 120th-ranked Brands came up with booming deliveries to save three match points to force the fourth-set breaker and then fought off another four match points in the breaker.Tomic had to fend off a set point of his own at 7-8 down in the tiebreaker and finally advanced on his eighth match point when Brands fired a forehand long.