Bernard Tomic is now just a match away from qualifying for the Australian Open for a 10th straight year.
The sometimes-reluctant Tomic fought off American Tommy Paul 6-0, 6-7, 7-6 in a second-round qualifier on Margaret Court Arena today to reach the final phase, to be completed tomorrow.
He will play Lorenzo Sonego of Italy in the last match on Sunday with the winner will go through to the main draw starting on Monday.
Tomic, 25, ranked 143rd in the world, has turned up at Melbourne Park fresh and apparently keen despite a forgettable 2017 season, beating France's Vincent Millot in the first round and then Paul, the 2015 French boys' champion, today.
The world No.151-ranked Paul was no match for him early, the first set lasting only 22 minutes. The Australian was cruising to a quick victory at 5-2 in the second set, but at 5-3 had his service broken by Paul for the first time, and then the American won a tiebreak 7-5 to extend the match to a deciding third set.
Tomic broke Paul's serve at 5-5 in the decider and served for the match for the second time, but was immediately broken again, serving a double fault on break point. Ultimately he needed to beat Paul in another tiebreaker 7-4, closing it out with a big serve down the middle that the American could not return.
Tomic's appearances at the previous nine Opens in his home country have been highlighted by his reaching the fourth-round in 2012, 2015 and 2016.
Today's qualifying was heavily impacted by the rain in Melbourne, but Tomic's match, originally slated for court three and already delayed from the previous day, was moved indoors.
Tennis Australia declined to offer him a wildcard entry into the main draw after his dreadful 2017.