Melbourne, Australia, 17 January 2013 | Leigh Rogers with AAP

They say a cat has nine lives, but how many does a ‘duck’ have? At least five it seems, but no more.

A gallant James Duckworth, an Australian wildcard ranked 223 in the world, saved five match points in his second round men’s singles match against Slovenian Blaz Kavcic on Show Court 3 today.

He couldn’t save a sixth though, with Kavcic triumphing 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-7(3) 10-8 in a match that last four hours and 52 minutes in temperatures which soared around 40 degrees.

The epic fifth set lasted 89 minutes alone, with both players limping across the line.

Kavcic needed medical timeouts for a leg injury during the set, while twenty year-old Duckworth had received treatment on his ankle in the third set and appeared to be struggling with cramp in the final stages of the match.

Kavcic had an early break in the deciding set, leading 2-0 but Duckworth soon leveled at 2-all.

The Slovenian again inched ahead and served for the match at 5-3. He was broken, but earned a match point on the Duckworth serve at 5-4. Duckworth saved it, tying the set at 5-all.

Kavcic had a further three consecutive match points at 6-5 on the Duckworth serve, but couldn’t convert.

The Slovenian, aged 25 and ranked 98, kept fighting and games continued on serve to 9-8 before a tired Duckworth fell to 0-40 on his serve.

Duckworth, who had already survived a five-set marathon in the previous round, managed to save yet another match point, Kavcic’s fifth, but that was it. A forehand floated long on the next point to hand Kavcic victory.

“From about 3-2 in the fifth, my hamstring and quads were locking up,” said Duckworth after the match.

“It started off just on serve and then when I was moving around the baseline.

“Any kind of sharp movement or quick movement and I’d lock up.”

Then there was the heat.

“I was sweating bucketloads.

“It was tough conditions.”

Even so, the main emotion for Duckworth in the aftermath was disappointment, as victory would have meant a glamorous third-round clash with No.7 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

“I was pretty shattered,” he said.

“I probably didn’t play my best tennis today.

“It was a big opportunity to play in the third round of a Grand Slam against Tsonga and I let it slip.”

Duckworth’s loss means Bernard Tomic, who won his second round match against German Daniel Brands in four sets today, is the sole Australian player left in the draw.