A hard-fought victory over Jeremy Chardy earned Tomas Berdych his place in the second round at Wimbledon.
Tomas Berdych came through a stern examination of his capabilities to triumph 6-2 6-7 (10-8) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) over Jeremy Chardy at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
After picking up a relatively comfortable win in the opening set, Berdych found Chardy a stubborn opponent for the remainder and the Frenchman levelled the encounter in the first of three tie-breaks.
Two tight sets followed but sixth seed Berdych claimed both to book his place in the second round, where he will face another French opponent - Nicolas Mahut.
Berdych recovered from a stuttering start that saw him save two break points and slowly began to find his rhythm, his groundstrokes particularly impressive as Chardy failed to capitalise.
To make matters worse for the Frenchman, double faults began to creep into his game to allow Berdych a break - at the fifth attempt - in the sixth, the world number six serving out to love to consolidate the break.
He was unrelenting in his push for the set and, as Chardy's accuracy begin to dip, Berdych moved ahead.
The Czech was unable to capitalise in the second though - he maintained his superb consistency but Chardy found another level to match him and, in turn, cut out his unforced errors.
Break chances were few and far between, so inevitably a tie-break was needed to decide the set. Berdych wasted a handful of chances to take it before firing into the net with a loose forehand to allow Chardy to level.
The third set proved equally close, but this time it was Berdych who came out on top in a tie-break after one break of serve apiece.
The fourth went with serve throughout but both players started asking questions of the umpire as the glorious London sun faded from view, making for much darker conditions on Court One.
Much to the delight of the crowd - most likely grateful for a bit of shade following a day of soaring temperatures - the show went on, but not for long.
There was little to separate the pair in the third tie-break of the match, but Chardy sent a forehand into the net at the crucial moment, handing Berdych a chance to serve for the match.
Berdych made no mistake, pulling off a superb ace that sent a cloud of chalk dust up into the darkening skies.