LONDON - Rafael Nadal has avenged his shock 2012 Wimbledon defeat to Lukas Rosol with a tense and hard-fought 4-6 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 6-4 win over the big-hitting Czech.
World No.1 Nadal did it the hard way, however, dropping the first set and then trailing 2-4 in the second before then having to save a set point in the tiebreaker.
But the 2008 and 2010 champion, who lost in the first round to Steve Darcis in 2013, wrapped up a place in the third round for the first time since 2011 on a third match point.
His mighty roar and extravagant fist pump at the moment of victory, which shook Centre Court to the core, spoke volumes as the hurt and humiliation of two years ago was finally vanquished.
"I tried to keep fighting and waited for my moment," said Nadal on Thursday, after dropping the first set for the second time in two matches at this year's Wimbledon.
"I saved a set point in the tiebreaker which was very important because to be two sets down to a big server like Rosol would have been very dangerous."
Nadal, who next faces Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan, finished with 35 winners to Rosol's carefree hammering of 50, but crucially the Spanish winner of 14 grand slam titles gave up just nine unforced errors in the 2hr 44min encounter.
"I don't think in terms of revenge," insisted Nadal.
"All matches are different. When I lost in 2012 it was because the opponent played better.
"It doesn't matter if it's Rosol or any other player, the goal is to play as well as possible. Now I feel a little tired, there was a lot of tension but I played great towards the end."
Rosol fired eight aces and 13 winners in the first set with Nadal allowed a meagre five points off the big Czech's serve.
The 28-year-old, now ranked 52 in the world compared to his 100 at the time of his 2012 seismic triumph, broke for 5-4 and claimed the opener with a perfect love game.
Not for the first time in his bitter-sweet Wimbledon career, Nadal was staring at another All England Club humiliation.
Elsewhere, Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic reached the third round for the first time with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 win over Jack Sock of the US and goes on to face 2013 quarter-finalist Lukasz Kubot of Poland.
Kubot beat Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/4) 6-3 7-6 (7/3).
Japanese 10th seed Kei Nishikori also moved into the third round with a 6-3 6-2 6-1 thrashing of American qualifier Denis Kudla courtesy of 40 winners.
The 24-year-old will next play Italian lucky loser Simone Bolelli, who put out German 22nd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.