Aussie wild card Sam Groth became more than the Top Gun of fast serve early Friday morning. In a breakout performance, the career journeyman established himself as a player to be reckoned with at the Tour level now. The big-serving Groth defeated savvy Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in the second round of the Brisbane International in a stirring match stretching almost an hour past midnight and lasting two hours and 25 minutes. Herbert, the luckiest of the lucky losers from the qualification tournament, was a last minute replacement for South African Kevin Anderson. Anderson, the fourth seed, had a first-round bye, but was stricken with a stomach virus and unable to play. With the win, Groth, ranked No. 172, advanced to his first Tour quarterfinal, improving to 5-6 at the top level. Despite his hurried recall, Herbert began the match calm and relaxed, moving around the court smoothly. The Frenchman, ranked No. 151, got the only break of the first set at 2-2 and served impeccably throughout the opener, winning 13 of 14 first-serve points. Groth began the second set with three aces in the first game to hold, and broke in the next to go up 2-0. Three straight breaks followed before Herbert held to even things at 3-3. The Frenchman saved a set point at 4-5 and two more at 5-6, and then faltered in the tie-break, falling behind 5-0. Groth closed it out with a mini-break for 7-3. Service prevailed in the third set to force another tiebreaker, but not without Groth surviving some anxious moments on his serve. The 26-year-old Melbourne resident saved two break points at 1–2 and another at 3-4. Serving at 5-6 to stay in the match, a shaky Groth double-faulted twice to start the game and then faced a match point. Groth cracked a thunderbolt, followed it in and made a difficult, low volley, tucking it into the corner for a winner. New life. The big Aussie served an ace for 6-5 in the tie-break to gain a match point and won it with a mini-break on the next point. “I’m going to play a lot of tie-breaks the way I play,” Groth said. “Obviously there’s ebbs and flows in matches … I struggled a bit early but I managed to find my serve and I won the last point, which is what counts.” Groth served 18 aces to eight for Herbert and committed seven double faults to six for his opponent. Next up for the Aussie is eighth-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy Friday afternoon.