Andy Murray negotiated the threat of big-serving Ivo Karlovic to reach the third round of Wimbledon.
The fourth seed had won all three of their previous meetings but this was the first on grass and 6ft 10in Karlovic tested Murray throughout.
But the Scot responded well to dropping the second set and stayed strong in the fourth to win 7-5 6-7 (7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in over three hours on Centre Court.
He will play Marcos Baghdatis, who beat Grigor Dimitrov, on Saturday.
"Winning is all that's important when you're playing a guy with his style," Murray told BBC Sport. "It's so challenging to get into a rhythm.
"Tie-breaks are a bit of a lottery with someone like Karlovic. You have to get your racquet on returns and hope he makes a mistake.
"I was seeing the ball fairly well on the return, I was hitting it cleanly on the forehand and I came up with good passing shots at the right time."
Murray looked imperious in his thashing of Nikolay Davydenko on Tuesday but knew this would be a far tougher assignment.
With a game tailor-made for this surface, Karlovic stunned defending champion Lleyton Hewitt 10 years ago and reached the quarter-finals in 2009.
The world number 59 signalled his intent by battling from 40-0 down in the opening game to strike at the first time of asking.
Murray had spoken about the importance of holding serve against a player who would offer few chances on his own delivery - yet he managed to hit straight back with three passing shots and some fine defence.
That brought the crowd to life and seemed to relax both men, Karlovic flicking a magical half-volley past Murray at the net before Murray returned the favour.
But the Briton's superior return game soon told and when a backhand winner gave him a third set point at 6-5, Karlovic hit a double-fault.
Murray was getting an average of 0.571 seconds to react to Karlovic serves and his ability to deal with them waned in the second set.
That said, the Croat was making little impact on the impressive Murray delivery and the second set would have to be decided by a tie-break.
Karlovic's accuracy forced Murray to take risks and after the world number four put a forehand wide to fall 6-5 behind, his opponent levelled the match with a deft volley.
As Karlovic roared in the direction of his support team, Murray sat down and gesticulated to himself throughout the changeover.
But roles were reversed at the start of the third set as Murray broke in game one with a lob that left Karlovic throwing his racquet in frustration.
Murray's movement and variety was now far too good for a dejected-looking Karlovic and he calmly put himself back on course for victory.
While neither player seriously threatened the other in the fourth set, there was danger for Murray at 5-6 and 15-40.
However, he served his way out of trouble and yelled "come on!" while pumping his fists as another tie-break beckoned.
The tension was palpable at 4-4 only for Karlovic to produce an untimely double-fault to help Murray wrap up an encouraging victory.