Polish stars collide in an effort to secure history
Poland has waited 33 years for a male quarter-finalist at a grand slam but two arrived within a few of minutes of each other at Wimbledon on Monday as Jerzy Janowicz and Lukasz Kubot set up an unlikely last-eight clash.
The big-serving Janowicz edged past Juergen Melzer 3-6 7-6 6-4 4-6 6-4, collapsing to the court in disbelief after finally subduing the Austrian veteran.
Then 130th-ranked Kubot launched into his party piece can-can dance routine to celebrate a 4-6 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over fellow outsider Adrian Mannarino of France.
Janowicz, seeded 24, struggled to get to grips with the left-handed Melzer in the early stages on the tight confines of Court 12, but gradually turned up the heat.
When he broke Melzer's serve to lead 3-2 in the fourth set Janowicz seemed to have taken control but his concentration wavered and the 32-year-old Melzer hit back to drag an entertaining, and occasionally fractious, contest to a decider.
This time Janowicz got the break and did not falter to go one round better than last year when he reached the third round on his grand slam debut after qualifying.
The winner of his match against Kubot will be the first Polish man ever to reach a grand slam semi-final.
Wojtek Fibak was the last Polish man to reach a grand slam quarter-final, losing three times in the last eight in 1980.
Belfast Telegraph Digital