World number one Lleyton Hewitt recovered from the brink of defeat again to defeat big-serving Belgian Dick Norman in the third round of the Stella Artois Championships today.
Hewitt, who needed a final set tie-break to dispose of Raemon Sluiter in the previous round, saved six break points in the ninth game of the final set before promptly breaking Norman for the first time to secure a nail-biting 7-6 3-6 6-4 victory.
The 32-year-old, 6ft 8in Norman once retired from the game for two years because of his lack of success. But he boasted grass-court pedigree having beaten Stefan Edberg on his way to the fourth round of Wimbledon on his only appearance there in 1995.
And Norman burst back on to the scene this week with a consistent serve mixed with some delightful drop shots.
He blazed back from his first set tie-break loss to break Hewitt for a 4-2 second set lead, and served out with his 15th ace to level the scores.
But Hewitt once again relied on his fighting spirit to save three break points early in the deciding set and then six more in an extraordinary ninth game.
Norman was unlucky to have a good forehand called out and then over-ruled when he could have gone 0-40 ahead but he had plenty more chances and Hewitt saved one with a second serve ace.
Hewitt seized his only real breaking chance and grabbed another cliff-hanger victory which earned him a fourth round clash against Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean.