31st seed Sam Querrey needed two hours, 49 minutes to fend off French wild card Quentin Halys 7-6 (10), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round of the Australian Open.
Halys wins marathon tiebreak to take first set
It was a good start for Halys as he broke Querrey to open the match. After consolidating the break for a 2-0 lead, the Frenchman's play dipped, losing four games in a row to give the American a 4-2 lead. Halys would break back to get the set on serve.
Both players would hold the remainder of the set and it would be decided in a tiebreak. Halys would achieve the first minibreak for a 3-2 lead. After giving the minibreak back, both players would trade blows, each saving three set points before Halys captured the decisive minibreak at 10-10 on a missed Querrey volley followed by a missed forehand from the American to take the opener.
Querrey responds, wins second set tiebreak to level match
Halys would save a break point to open the second set and he was back on the front foot, Querrey double-faulting to hand the Frenchman a break and a 3-1 lead. Seemingly in command, Halys had a momentary lapse, the 31st seed breaking back.
There would be no more break chances until the tenth game when Halys has set point, but Querrey did well to fight it off and hold for 5-5. After matching holds, a second straight tiebreak would be played.
This time, it was Querrey who started out on top, a minibreak to give him a 3-2 lead. The American's serve and forehand, his two main weapons, were beginning to come to life and he got a second minibreak for a 6-3 lead and despite wasting his first set point, he'd close it out on the next point, knotting the match at one set apiece.
Querrey wins razor-thin third set, takes lead
Both men were dialed in on serve to start the third set, the returner winning just two points over the first five games. With the match dead even and each player now playing well, it was impossible to call a winner.
What turned out to be the turning point of the set and match came in the sixth game, Querrey engineering a break, a sparkling backhand down the line giving him a 4-2 lead. Finally out in front, the American would shut the door, holding his next two service games with ease to take a two sets to one advantage.
Querrey opens fourth set with a break, cruises home to reach second round
Querrey was on top and he was looking for the knockout blow, which would come his way immediately as he broke to start the fourth set when Halys double-faulted, a challenge by the Frenchman only confirming the call. After saving a break point to hold for a 2-0 lead, it was the server who dominated the rest of the way.
Neither man would have a break point the rest of the way and four of the final eight games were love holds, including the game that sealed the match for Querrey, a date with 17-year old Alex De Minaur up next for the 31st seed.