Jan-Lennard Struff had started his Wimbledon journey back in 2013, qualifying for the main draw and beating Blaz Kavcic for his first win at the most prestigious tennis event. He was beaten by Jeremy Chardy in the second round and has been unable to notch a triumph here in the last four years as well, losing to Kubot, Tomic, Evans and Raonic between 2014-17.
The start of 2018 campaign was anything but perfect for Struff, trailing 6-3 7-6 against Leonardo Mayer before he scored a hard-fought 3-6 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-1 win in three hours and 29 minutes for the place in the second round.
It was a mighty close match with just four breaks in total, two on each side, and it was Mayer who had the stronger start, rattling off the last four games of the opening set and taking the second set tie break 7-5 to open up a huge lead.
The Argentinian was three points away from the straight sets win in the tie break of the third set before he lost three of the last four points, and he lost the fourth set tie break as well to keep Struff in contention.
Jan-Lennard has found his rhythm after that opening set, serving well and prevailing in the closing stages of sets three and four to gain the momentum and save his best tennis for the decider where he broke Mayer twice to claim his second win from two sets to love down after doing the same at the US Open 2014 against Mikhail Kukushkin.
Two days later Jan-Lennard had to work even harder to oust the Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic, saving a match point in a 6-7 3-6 7-6 7-6 13-11 win in just under four hours! Karlovic had everything in his hands, taking the opening two sets and having a match point in the 12th game of the fourth set on the return.
It wasn't enough to win the match, though, with Struff surviving all the challenges to prevail 13-11 in the deciding set after the only break he has scored in the entire match! Thus, Struff has become only the third player in the Open era who managed to win two matches at Wimbledon after trailing two sets to love, after Charlie Pasarell and Russell Simpson and the first who did that since 1982! Back in 1976, Pasarell defeated the 5th seed Adriano Panatta 8-9 4-6 6-4 7-5 6-4 and he had to do the same in the next round to reach the quarters, ousting Phil Dent 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-0 7-5 before Ilie Nastase halted him in the battle for the last four.
Six years later, the New Zealander Russell Simpson became the second player with two wins from two sets to love down at Wimbledon, taking out John Lloyd 3-6 4-6 7-6 6-4 6-4 in the opening round and Marcos Hocevar 3-6 5-7 6-3 7-6 6-3 in round three before Mark Edmondson prevailed against him in three close sets in the last 16.
Jan-Lennard Struff plays against Roger Federer on Friday and it should be interesting to see if he is capable of performing another miracle and extend his run at Wimbledon. ALSO READ: Ivo Karlovic delivers fury from serve but falls in another Wimbledon epic