LONDON — Rafael Nadal was one point away from falling behind by two sets before rallying Thursday to beat Lukas Rosol, the Czech player who knocked him out at Wimbledon in the same round and on the same court two years ago.
The top-ranked Nadal, a two-time Wimbledon champion, raised his game just in time to avoid falling into a deep hole, rallying for a 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-4 victory on Centre Court to advance to the third round.
The hard-hitting, 6-foot-5 Rosol had a chance to go up two sets to love when he had a set point at 6-5 in the second-set tiebreaker. But Nadal saved it with a forehand winner and Rosol double-faulted two points later to give the Spaniard the set.
As Nadal hopped and pumped his fist, his coach and uncle, Toni, jumped out of his seat in the guest box, shouted “Vamos” and also celebrated with a display of fist pumps.
That turnaround gave Nadal the momentum and he dominated play the rest of the way.
“I just wanted to keep fighting and wait for my moment,” Nadal said.
Nadal broke for the first time to go up 2-1 in the third set, and closed out the set by holding serve and love and finishing with an ace. At one stage at the end of the third set and beginning of the fourth, Nadal ran off 14 points in a row.
While Nadal was made to work, five-time women’s champion Serena Williams wasted no time in reaching the third round, routing Chanelle Scheepers 6-1, 6-1 in just 49 minutes.
Chasing her 18th Grand Slam title, the top-seeded American overwhelmed the 94th-ranked South African in the opening match on Court 1, hitting eight aces and notching 26 winners.
The 30-year-old Scheepers, who had never won a match at Wimbledon until this week, had only five winners to go with 13 unforced errors.
Williams, coming off a second-round loss at the French Open, is playing in her 15th Wimbledon and 56th Grand Slam tournament.
Other early women’s winners included No. 11 Ana Ivanovic and No. 25 Alice Cornet.
Among other men’s matches, Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios saved nine match points before beating No. 13 seed Richard Gasquet 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8.
Eighth-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada advanced with 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Jack Sock of the United States and No. 24 Gaels Monfils lost to Jiri Vesely of Czech Republic 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-7 (3), 6-4.