Melbourne - Defending champion Roger Federer survived a five-set thriller to overcome Frenchman Gilles Simon and squeeze into the third round at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Federer had to pull out all stops to get past the unseeded Simon, winning 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 in 3hr 13min on Rod Laver Arena.
The Swiss world number two had cruised to a two-set advantage, but Simon, who had won their only other two encounters, hit back spectacularly to take the contest into a fifth and deciding set.
Federer was relieved to escape with a five-set victory, and prevent losing for the first time in the second round at a Grand Slam event since the 2003 French Open.
"Today I got lucky to go through," Federer said.
"He's a great player. Matches against him don't come easy, and they always go the distance. Hopefully I won't play him any more," he laughed.
Federer will next play Belgium's Xavier Malisse in Friday's third round.
Federer's victory equalled Swede Stefan Edberg's record (56-10) for the most Open Era wins at the Australian Open. Federer now has a 56-7 win-loss record at Melbourne Park.
The all-time Grand Slam champion, with 16 major titles, is bidding to become the second man to win five Australian titles behind six-time winner Roy Emerson.
Collated results from day three of the Australian Open (x denotes seeding):
Tomas Berdych (CZE x6) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4
Richard Gasquet (FRA x28) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4
Kei Nishikori (JPN) bt Florian Mayer (GER) 6-4, 6-3, 0-6, 6-3
Fernando Verdasco (ESP x9) bt Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/0), 6-0
Nicolas Almagro (ESP x14) bt Igor Andreev (RUS) 7-5, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (12/10), 7-5
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO x17) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)
Viktor Troicki (SRB x29) bt Nicolas Mahut (FRA) 6-4, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
Andy Roddick (USA x8) bt Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) 7-6 (9/7), 6-2, 6-3
Robin Haase (NED) bt Juan Monaco (ARG x26) 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
Tommy Robredo (ESP) bt Mardy Fish (USA x16) 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) bt Lukasz Kubot (POL) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Xavier Malisse (BEL) bt Albert Montanes (ESP x25) 6-4, 6-0, 6-1
Novak Djokovic (SRB x3) bt Ivan Dodig (CRO) 7-5, 6-7 (8/10), 6-0, 6-2
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x19) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 7-5, 6-3, 6-3
Gael Monfils (FRA x12) bt Frederico Gil (POR) 6-4, 6-3 1-6, 6-2
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3Women's singles
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x1) bt Vania King (USA) 6-1, 6-0
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x29) bt Alberta Brianti (ITA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) bt Yanina Wickmayer (BEL x21) 6-4, 6-2
Vesna Manasieva (RUS) bt Marion Bartoli (FRA x15) 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
Justine Henin (BEL x11) bt Elena Baltacha (GBR) 6-1, 6-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x23) bt Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-1, 6-4
Monica Niculescu (ROM) bt Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL x32) 6-4, 6-1
Francesca Schiavone (ITA x6) bt Rebecca Marino (CAN) 6-3, 5-7, 9-7
Venus Williams (USA x4) bt Sandra Zahlavova (CZE) 6-7 (6/8), 6-0, 6-4
Julia Goerges (GER) bt Kaia Kanepi (EST x20) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Maria Sharapova (RUS x14) bt Virginie Razzano (FRA) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) bt Regina Kulikova (RUS) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x8) bt Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) 6-4, 6-4
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) bt Jelena Dokic (AUS)
Li Na (CHN) bt Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 6-3, 6-2
Andrea Petkovic (GER x30) bt Anne Keothavong (GBR) 2-6, 7-5, 6-0