Alexander Zverev climbed off the deck to beat Taylor Fritz at Wimbledon
AFP / Glyn KIRK
Alexander Zverev avoided a shock Wimbledon exit as the world number three battled back to beat American youngster Taylor Fritz 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (0/7), 6-1, 6-2 on Friday.
Zverev had just lost the third set when bad light forced play to be suspended late on Thursday evening.
But the 21-year-old German has plenty of practice at scrambling out of trouble after three times winning from two sets to one down at the recent French Open.
He staged another impressive escape act on Court One, winning the final two sets to move into the third round.
Zverev will face Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis for a place in the last 16.
"Stopping yesterday two sets to one down was not a nice feeling, but I came out today and knew I would have chances," Zverev said.
"I think the last two sets here showed my progress. I played well on clay, so it's coming together slowly.
"I'm preparing the best I can. This match showed I can't take anything for granted."
After enjoying the best Grand Slam run of his career when he made the French Open quarter-finals last month, Zverev is hoping to reach the last eight at Wimbledon for the first time.
He was beaten in the fourth round last year.
Following early exits for Swiss 16th seed Borna Coric and Canadian world number 25 Denis Shapovalov, Zverev's win was a boost for the group of young prodigies branded the sport's 'NextGen' stars by the ATP.
Like Zverev, the 20-year-old Fritz is a former junior world number one ear-marked for great things but yet to truly arrive at the highest level.
Fritz, ranked 68th, has strong tennis genes as his mother Kathy reached the Wimbledon last 16 in 1977.
But, looking for first win over a top five player, he let Zverev off the hook with a disappointing collapse.