French Open records longest ever tennis match

25th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 25 (AFP) - France's Fabrice Santoro qualified for the second round of the French Open here on Tuesday and made history at the same time for the longest match ever in tennis history.

PARIS, May 25 (AFP) - France's Fabrice Santoro qualified for the second round of the French Open here on Tuesday and made history at the same time for the longest match ever in tennis history.

Santoro beat compatriot Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 3-6, 16-14 in a match that lasted an amazing six hours and 33 minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen, spread over two days.

It surpassed the previous mark, a Davis Cup tie between American John McEnroe and Swede Mats Wilander in 1982, which lasted six hours and 22 minutes.

"I'd no idea and I really don't care about it," said a disgruntled Clement afterwards. "It was a very tight match and could have been another few games longer. Both of us had chances to win."

Clement had fought back from two sets down in the match which started on Monday afternoon before the players were forced off at 5-5 in the final set due to fading light.

When they returned on Tuesday morning, the set continued with serve until Santoro made what looked like being a crucial break to take a 12-11 lead.

But Clement, the 32nd seed, struck back immediately to keep the battle going.

Clement, who lost one match point on Monday, had another at 14-13, but Santoro stood firm and broke in the next game to serve for the match for a second time.

But when Santoro fell 0-40 down it looked like he was going to throw it away before fighting back to seal victory and collapsing on court in joy and exhaustion.

It was the fourth win in five meetings between the two, with Santoro having the edge mainly with his serve, slamming down 22 aces compared to Clement's 10.

Clement also had twice as many unforced errors with 95 compared to 40 for Santoro, who goes on to meet Irakli Labadze of Georgia for a place in the third round.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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