Melbourne - Bernard Tomic remained on course for a likely showdown against Roger Federer at the Australian Open by narrowly defeating German qualifier Daniel Brands at Melbourne Park on Thursday.
The 20-year-old Australian secured a 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (10/8) win in 2hr 55min to reach the third round and continue his unbeaten start to the year after claiming his first tour title at the Sydney International.
Tomic will meet Federer in round three on Saturday, provided the 17-time Grand Slam champion extends his dominant 17-2 record against Russia's Nikolay Davydenko later on Thursday.
"Unexpectedly, he played really well," Tomic said of Brands. "In the end I was surprised how well he played. A set down, I didn't feel too good but I managed to turn it around."
Tomic also had his fingers crossed Davydenko would spring an upset against Federer in Thursday evening's feature match.
"He's an amazing player," he said of Federer. "I'd prefer to play Davydenko."