“The key to victory today is that I never gave up. I persevered to the end,” Wang told reporters. “From start to finish, I just played my game. The way I played wasn’t affected by changes in the score.”
For the 28-year-old, who missed the better part of three years from 2008 to 2010 with a wrist injury that nearly led him to give up the sport, Tuesday’s win was only his second at a Grand Slam event since his comeback and his first at Wimbledon since 2007.
“The victory today is really a form of validation and encouragement to me and is really significant,” Wang said. “The most important thing in getting out of the rut was not losing hope.”
In Tuesday’s evenly matched affair, the 151st-ranked Taiwanese won only three more points than his 107th-ranked opponent (164-161) and committed 59 unforced errors to Odesnik’s 60.
However, Wang made only six unforced errors in the decisive fifth set to Odesnik’s 13 and he also kept the American under pressure throughout the match with 25 break point chances, converting nine.
Wang also survived a match point while serving at 4-5 in the final set.
Looking ahead to his battle against a rejuvenated Haas, Wang said he would not feel any pressure against the higher ranked player and would stick to his game.
Wang previously reached the second round at Wimbledon in 2006 and 2007, but has never advanced to the third round of any Grand Slam tournament in his career.
With Tuesday’s victory, Wang joined compatriots Lu and Hsieh Su-wei in advancing to the second round of a Wimbledon singles draw this year.
Unfortunately for Hsieh, she was not as successful as Wang, losing to Alize Cornet (29) of France 6-3, 6-2 yesterday.
Also on Tuesday, Novak Djokovic proved shock-proof as a sense of order was restored on Tuesday after Nadal’s defeat.
Djokovic outmaneuvered Mayer, a player just outside the top 32 seeds who he faced in the quarter-finals last year, for a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory.
Fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer completed a far-from-memorable Centre Court program with a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win against Argentina’s Martin Alund, despite several tumbles.
Other men’s seeds also flourished with Czech 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych, Argentine 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, Germany’s Tommy Haas and talented Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov all enjoying straight sets wins.
In the women’s draw, last year’s runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, Samantha Stosur and Angelique Kerber all progressed, but 10th seed Maria Kirilenko suffered a surprise 6-3, 6-4 defeat by Briton Laura Robson.