Marin Cilic triumphed in the second longest match in Wimbledon history as he saw off Sam Querrey to set up a potential fourth-round tie against Andy Murray.
John Isner’s record clash with Nicolas Mahut in 2010 will surely forever be the longest played at the All England Club, but Cilic and Querrey were in no rush either.
It went to a final set that Cilic eventually won after he broke serve in the 31st game and then held on his own delivery.
Cilic, who won the AEGON Championship at Queen’s two weeks ago, slumped in his chair with relief after five hours and 30 minutes of play that ended with a 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 6-7 (2/7) 6-7 (3/7) 17-15 win for the 16th seed.
Neither player was willing to blink towards the end of an epic tussle that drew a strong crowd on Court Two.
Cilic broke through in the 11th game when Querrey punched a forehand long after a tense rally.
But, serving for the match, the Croatian buckled under pressure, handing Querrey two break points and the American grabbed the first opportunity when his opponent cleared the baseline with a forehand.
Both players held firm until that 31st game when Querrey netted at 30-40.
Cilic held his nerve to win a 29-stroke rally at 30-30 in the next game and the 6ft 6in player punched the air after his American opponent hit a woeful backhand long.
Cilic, who has won just one of the six matches he has played against Murray, insists he will be ready for his fourth-round encounter against the Scot, or Marcos Baghdatis, despite today’s draining game.
“The next match will be difficult but hopefully I will be fresh,” Cilic said.
“It will be a little bit different from today’s match, but it was another big performance from me today.
“When I was serving for the match it wasn’t easy.
“It was windy and the light was fading so that made it difficult.
“But I tried to put that out of my mind. I’m really happy I stayed focused all the time.
“Sam served well today but I’m definitely glad I came through.”