Italian eighth seed Jannik Sinner missed two match points before being knocked out of the French Open in the second round on Thursday by German Daniel Altmaier after a dramatic five-hour, 26-minute battle -- the fifth-longest match in tournament history.
Altmaier, the world number 79, twice staved off match points late in the fourth set before eventually prevailing 6-7 (0/7), 7-6 (9/7), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 after five hours and 26 minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
“I just love the game of tennis,” said an emotional Altmaier. “I don’t know if you can call it a historical match, but it was one to remember.”
The longest-ever match at Roland Garros remains the six hours and 33 minutes it took Fabrice Santoro to beat fellow Frenchman Arnaud Clement in 2004.
Altmaier and Sinner also played a five-set match in the US Open first round last year, when Sinner was the victor.
Altmaier will take on Grigor Dimitrov for a spot in the second week after edging the longest match of the tournament so far.
The 24-year-old twice averted defeat when Sinner was serving for a last-32 place in set four before winning the third tie-break of the match.
Altmaier, who reached the fourth round in 2020, broke in game seven of the decider but then also failed to serve it out.
He immediately gave himself another chance, though, and this time crept over the line as he secured a surprise win on his fifth match point after a thrilling final game in which he also saved three break points.
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