Dubai - Six-time winner Roger Federer hit the "go" button after trailing 4-1 in the first set at the Dubai Classic on Wednesday, eventually winning 20 straight points to blow Spain's Fernando Verdasco away with a 6-4, 6-3 win.
The win sets him up to reach the quarter-finals.
The second seed joined fellow elites Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in reaching the last eight at the Aviation Club in an hour or less.
Federer claimed the first set at the end of his epic fightback and began the second set with a break of his 31st-ranked Spanish opponent, whom he's now beaten six times.
Though he lost that break, the Swiss national regained the lead and finished up the victory in 59 minutes as a Verdasco double-fault set up two match points. One was enough as Federer drove a forehand winner down the line.
He now stands one win away from a 50th Dubai victory.
"It was a very tough start, the last thing you want to do is let it get out of control," said Federer, who plays Richard Gasquet in a rerun of the deciding match in November's Swiss Davis Cup finals defeat of France.
Gasquet saved a match point as he overcame Spanish seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6).
"Fernando was taking the ball early and not missing much. I didn't do much wrong myself. I'm very pleased with the match tonight."
Told he had won 20 points to take the opening set, even the 17-time grand slam champion was momentarily impressed.
"Maybe that's a first, but it was more important to win the match. When I hear that statistic, this could be one of my best comebacks.".
Top seed Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both hammered their opponents in the second round, with Djokovic taking down Andrey Golubev 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and Murray leaving nothing on the table for outclassed Joao Sousa 6-0, 6-2 (57 minutes).
"This was a better performance that yesterday," said ATP number one Djokovic. "It was good to win in straight sets. I managed to get crucial breaks in both sets and play aggressive."
Murray got away to a quick start and never wavered, winning with five breaks of serve and the same number of aces.
"I just picked the right shots and played the right way when he was struggling," said the Scot. "I didn't give him any free points, I didn't make any needless errors."
Fourth seed Tomas Berdych, losing finalist at the last two editions, took nearly two and a half hours to beat Italian Simone Bolelli 7-6 (9-7), 5-7, 6-0.
Victory marked the 500th career win for the Czech
"It feels great. I just need to really make sure that I keep my body fresh, and let's make another 500, you know. Let's try to chase Roger [1,003 career victories]. That is really something too far. I'll just try to keep hitting more and more, try to play as long as I can."
It took a runaway final effort from the seed in the third set to seal victory.
Croatian teenager Borna Coric earned a dramatic win when Marcos Baghdatis retired within two points of a possible finish, quitting in the third-set tiebreaker with a cramp in his hand over a 6-4, 3-6, 6-6 (4-4) victory. Sergiy Stakhovsky beat Denis Istomin 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Results from the ATP Dubai Open on Wednesday (x denotes seeding):
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-4, 6-3
Marsel Ilhan (TUR) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP x6) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Andrey Golubev (KAZ) 6-1, 6-2
Tomas Berdych (CZE x4) bt Simone Bolelli (ITA) 7-6 (9/7), 5-7, 6-0
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) bt Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Andy Murray (GBR x3) bt Joao Sousa (POR) 6-0, 6-2
Richard Gasquet (FRA) bt Roberto Bautista (ESP x7) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6)
Borna Coric (CRO) bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 6-4, 3-6, 6-6 retired