This was the second five-setter match on Jan 19. Earlier in the day, Nalbandian outlasted Hewitt in yet another epic encounter between the two.
Federer's juggernaut at the Australian Open appeared to smoothly roll in to the third round when he won the first two sets of his second round match against France's Gilles Simon convincingly.
But the Frenchman had other ideas. Despite being 2-6, 3-6 down in the the first two sets, he refused to look down the barrel. Instead he fought back admirably. And boy, he did that in style too. He won the next two sets 6-4, 6-4, to hold back the rampaging swiss legend.
Showcasing the indomitable spirit that has made him the legend that he is, Federer survived the period of impetuous game from Simon, and won the fifth set 6-4 to prevail his supremacy. Interestingly, this is the Swiss legend's first victory over Gilles Simon in three encounters and a relieved Federer was effusive in his praise for the youngster.
Federer aiming for his 17th Grand Slam title, must have received a timely reminder of his fading aura of invincibility. Though he still remains a great player, but it seems like others have caught up. As the competition gets tougher, this encounter must stand him in good stead.
Federer will now take on Belgium's Xavier Malisse in the third round of Australian Open 2011.