Feliciano Lopez of Spain saved two match points to defeat qualifier Lukasz Kubot of Poland in four hours and 18 minutes to earn the right to play Andy Murray in the quarter-finals. Lopez won 3-6, 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 7-5, 7-5.
Lopez's escape from the brink of a straight-sets defeat on No. 3 Court meant Kubot was frustrated in his bid to become the first qualifier for 11 years to reach the last eight.
The Spaniard had become one of the giant killers of the tournament when he defeated the eighth seed and three times runner-up Andy Roddick . But at the start of the second week he found himself staring defeat in the face against the 29-year-old Kubot who was playing at Wimbledon for only the second time. He lost in the second round last year.
Kubot, ranked 93rd in the world, is the No.1 player in Poland and his ambition is to earn a place in the top 50. If he had made the breakthrough against Lopez, who ranks 44th, he could have been on his way.
The Polish player's serve gave him the foundation on which to build a two sets lead over the Spaniard. Kubot started the third set by saving three break points in the first game but by the end of the seventh game he was causing Lopez so much concern that the Spaniard broke his racket at the changeover and earned a warning from the umpire.
Slowly the tide began to turn for Lopez and he managed to take the set into a tie-break. Kubot twice held match point but was twice foiled by the Spaniard who took the game after 16 points and was back in contention after two hours and 30 minutes.
In the fourth set, Kubot broke serve first, in the seventh game, but Lopez broke back immediately and then survived three break points at 5-5. Two games later, on the point to level the match, Lopez hit a backhand winner cross court.
In the final set, the tension rose as the scores remained level but at 6-5 Lopez took the first three points against Kubot's service. The Pole saved two of them but then hit a forehand long and Lopez was on his way to meet Murray. He celebrated all around the court and the racket he broke in frustration ended up in the crowd as a trophy.
Courtesy of Barry Newcombe