Three times on Tuesday night, Austria’s Jurgen Melzer of Austria was within one point of a first-round victory over Stanislas Wawrinka, the No.25 seed from Switzerland, until bad weather drove them from Court 12.
Today, after a long and nervous wait, Melzer finished the task, winning 3-6, 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-4, 8-6 in a match lasting three hours and 29 minutes of which only 11 minutes and 50 seconds were required today.
When they came back to resume combat the crowd shoehorned themselves into the seating. The players warmed up knowing that Melzer, serving first, had the chance to finish the match off in a matter of seconds.
When they restarted the left-handed Melzer continued the service game from deuce. He missed a backhand and then double-faulted and suddenly he was back at 5-5.
Wawrinka held serve to love to lead 6-5 but Melzer also held serve to level. In the next game the match turned against Wawrinka. He led 30-0 with an ace but Melzer drew level from two errors by Wawrinka. A double fault put Wawrinka break point down and on the next point he missed a forehand and Melzer was ahead 7-6.
The Austrian had another opportunity and he took it. Three service winners gave him three match points and he won on the first when Wawrinka missed a backhand, raising his arms in triumph.
"For sure I'm disappointed," said Wawrinka. "But that's tennis. It's never easy to lose a match like that, especially in the fifth set. I am really sad about the result. But at the end he was playing a little bit better. But I was looking to play some good matches here."
Melzer now plays Lukas Lacko of Slovakia in the second round while Wawrinka heads home for a rare tournament appearance in at Gstaad. He will return to Wimbledon for the Olympics where he is expected to partner Roger Federer, a pair that took the gold medal in Beijing.