Thanasi Kokkinakis has steadied to seal passage into the final stage of Australian Open qualifying, surviving a wobble against second-round opponent Sebastian Ofner.
He'll be joined by two emerging Australian women, Astra Sharma and Naiktha Bains, in third round qualifying action on Friday after the pair moved to the verge of their maiden main draw entries at Melbourne Park.
Kokkinakis defeated the Austrian world No.180, 6-4 7-6 (7-4), losing composure in the second set before rallying in the tiebreak.
He will face Canadian Peter Polansky for a place in the main draw.
While Isabelle Wallace, Lizette Cabrera, Kaylah McPhee and Olivia Rogowska lost their second-round matches, Sharma and Bains triumphed late in the day.
Sharma, who previously defeated Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonereva, marched on with a 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-4 win over another Russian, Varvara Flink.
A third Russian, Irina Khromacheva, stands between her and her first major tournament.
England-born Bains did it easier, defeating Japan's Kurumi Nara 6-4 6-4 to set up a qualifying decider with distinctive Frenchwoman Jessika Ponchet.
Kokkinakis, controversially overlooked for an Open wildcard, set the ball rolling for Australia on Thursday by winning his first four service games to love.
Despite rolling his ankle twice, he eased to a first set and looked to be heading towards a routine win.
But, he dropped his head, losing six points in a row to be broken for the first time, giving up the chance at a trouble-free passage.
Kokkinakis was able to come from behind in the tiebreak and spare himself a third set, winning in one hour and 38 minutes.
The world No.145 felt "edgy and flat", suggesting it might be the stress of qualifying.
"I didn't feel great on court. I wasn't playing good and I wasn't sharp," he said.
"Wanting to qualify really bad, I think that's what it is. Wanting to win matches and earn my way in the draw.
"(When I won, my feeling was) relief. I didn't even celebrate when I won."
Kokkinakis should be confident for the match-up with Polansky after beating the 30-year-old a fortnight ago in qualifying for the Brisbane International.
"I'm pretty good mates with Pete. He's a good guy ... it's going to be a tough match," Kokkinakis said.
Australian Associated Press