Stan Wawrinka won another epic slugfest Sunday at the French Open, edging youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6 in 5 hours, 9 minutes, the longest match of the tournament.
“I’ve never experienced that kind of atmosphere here in Paris on Lenglen. I always had a lot of support, but I think today was really special, and the match was amazing – five-hour match, five sets. The crowd stayed all the match,” said Wawrinka who won the title in 2015.
Tsitsipas had beaten Roger Federer in Australia and Rafael Nadal on clay already this year, but the missed opportunities brought the Greek to tears after.
“It’s been a long time since I cried after a match, so emotionally it wasn’t easy to handle,” Tsitsipas said. “I will try to learn from it as much as I can.
“I feel exhausted. I never experienced something like this in my life. I feel very disappointed at the end.”
It was quite an achievement for Wawrinka who underwent two surgeries on his left knee back in August of 2017. And to beat a very in-form Tsitsipas who is 14 years his junior and to do in over five hours on the hottest day of the tournament is remarkable.
“That’s the reason why I came back from the surgery in the first place, because I love and enjoy to play in front of people, to play in the biggest tournaments you can play. Today was something really special,” Wawrinka said.
Wawrinka came out just ahead in a lengthy opener on Lenglen, which set the tone that it was going to be a long, grinding, baseline battle. But Tsitsipas hung in the second in another grueling set before Wawrinka got back on track.
Wawrinka appeared to be fading in the fourth as Tsitipas took an early break in the heat. But under pressure in the fifth, Wawrinka showed his championship resolve, finally breaking the Greek on a challenged call on the line to take the match, the longest of his career.
“I was pretty sure it was in. When I hit it, I saw it was on the line. I was just hoping that the umpire would confirm it,” Wawrinka said. “So I was half a second not sure, but when I saw he was going to say it’s in… it was amazing battle.”
Tsitsipas, who become the first Top 10 seed ousted, will rue going just 5/27 on break chances.
“My mind is so empty right now. I cannot even think,” Tsitsipas said. “I was so close, so close. I give him room to do whatever he liked on all those break points. So many break points. So many. I didn’t play them. I was expecting someone else to play them for me. I didn’t play them.
“It’s the worst feeling ever. Especially when you lose. You don’t want to be in my place.”
While that drama was unfolding on Lenglen, Chatrier had little in the way of intrigue as Roger Federer buried Leonard Mayer 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 and then Rafael Nadal followed against his own Argentine, taking care of Juan Ignacio Londero by the same exact score of 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. Both commented on the windy conditions.
“Big serving, windy, it was tough conditions… I think when it’s this kind of conditions, it’s fast, it’s swirly, especially the one side, you have a lot of wind in your back. It’s like you’re serving from sort of a tree, from a mountain, and from the other one you feel like you’re playing up the hill,” Federer said. “[It’s] important it’s focused there and I did that well, and I’m very pleased with the game.”
Nadal added, “[It was] a very difficult day. Very windy out there. So it was not easy to find the feelings. But with those conditions, I think I did a lot of things well… Playing a solid match against that player, being honest, he’s good. He’s very intense, with good shots from the baseline, very aggressive. It was a positive victory for me.”
A very fresh Federer will now face perhaps a tired Wawrinka on Tuesday. Nadal will await the winner of Kei Nishkori-Benoit Paire which was suspended just after 9:30pm local time with Nishikori having just won the third to go up 2 sets to 1. So it’s a big, big advantage for both Rafa and Roger.
Monday, the last of the fourth round matches take place.
Novak Djokovic puts his 24-match Slam win streak on the line against German Jan-Lennard Struff. The 29-year-old Struff might be a little leg weary after a long win over Borna Coric on Saturday.
Juan Martin del Potro tries for his fourth win over Karen Khachanov who is in his third straight French sweet 16. Alexander Zverev hopes to keep his recent run going against the guy who beat him in Monte Carlo, Fabio Fognini. And 2018 runner-up Dominic Thiem returns to take on French favorite Gael Monfils.
MONDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe CHATRIER Début à 11h00
Sofia KENIN (USA) contre Ashleigh BARTY (AUS) 
Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB)  contre Jan-Lennard STRUFF (GER)
Dominic THIEM (AUT) contre Gael MONFILS (FRA)
Simona HALEP (ROU)  contre Iga SWIATEK (POL)
Court Suzanne LENGLEN Début à 11h00
Katerina SINIAKOVA (CZE) contre Madison KEYS (USA)
Fabio FOGNINI (ITA)  contre Alexander ZVEREV (GER) 
Karen KHACHANOV (RUS)  contre Juan Martin DEL POTRO (ARG) 
Amanda ANISIMOVA (USA) contre Aliona BOLSOVA (ESP)
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