LOCAL favourite Gael Monfils bowed out in the second round of the French Open to Fabio Fognini of Italy after losing a thriller that stretched over two days 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 9-7.
On Wednesday, the 13th-seeded Monfils had saved three match points before their match was suspended because of darkness at 5-5 in the fifth set.
Fognini was booed when he came back on the court for just 31 minutes on Thursday and withstood the crowd pressure to save a break point on his first game serve.
He made the decisive break in the 16th and last game coming back from love-40.
“He played well and he won,” Monfils said.
“I like him. It was a strange match but he was better then me.”
Their relations weren’t so friendly before play was halted around 10 pm on Wednesday.
Monfils, a former French Open semifinalist, had served for the match at 5-3 in the third and blown it.
Tempers flared in the fifth set when Fognini was reluctant to play because of darkness and was deducted a point.
“At 4-4 in the fifth set, the tournament referee (Stefan Fransson) asked Fabio if he wanted to keep playing,” Monfils said. “He said ‘yes’ twice. We could hardly see anything. I had already played in the dark before and both of us wanted to try to finish the match.”
But Fognini changed his mind. Following a long discussion with Fransson, Fognini was still unhappy with the decision to continue and kept arguing, which led to Monfils being awarded a free point.
Fognini accrued three match points at 5-4, but failed to convert any, and had some more choice words for the chair umpire while packing up his equipment for the night.
Fognini, who had never won a match at Roland Garros before this week, regretted his behaviour.
“At 4-4 in the last set, there was a lot of tension,” he said. “At 5-4, 15-40, somebody directed a laser pointer towards me.
“That’s when I said very bad things in Italian.”
Fognini was beaten 3-6, 4-6, 1-6 by 20th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in the third round yesterday. – AP
Men’s second round: Jurgen Melzer (Aut) bt Nicolas Mahut (Fra) 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4; David Ferrer (Spa) bt Xavier Malisse (Bel 6-2, 6-2, 2-0 (retired); Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spa) bt Pere Riba (Spa) 7-6 (7-5), 6-7, (13-15), 6-2, 6-2; Robby Ginepri (US) bt Potito Starace (Ita) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3; Victor Hanescu (Rom) bt Yuri Schukin (Kaz) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2; Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt Kei Nishikori (Jpn) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4; Fernando Verdasco (Spa) bt Florent Serra (Fra) 6-2, 6-2, 0-6, 6-4; Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) bt Andreas Seppi (Ita) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 7-5; Nicolas Almagro (Spa) bt Steve Darcis (Bel) 6-3, 6-0, 7-5; Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr (Ukr) bt Fernando Gonzalez (Chi) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3; Thomaz Belluci (Bra) bt Pablo Andjar (Spa) 1-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2; Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) bt Denis Istomin (Uzb) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2; Rafael Nadal (Spa) bt Horacio Zeballos (Arg) 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Men’s third round: Roger Federer (Swi) bt Julian Reister (Ger) 6-4, 6-0, 6-4; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) bt Thiemo de Bakker (Hol) 6-7 (6-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-4; Tomas Berdych (Cze) bt John Isner (US) 6-2, 6-2, 6-1; Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi) bt Fabio Fognini (Ita) 6-3, 6-4, 6-1; Andy Murray (Bri) bt Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2; Robin Soderling (Swe) bt Albert Montanes (Spa) 6-4, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
Women’s second round: Serena Williams (US) bt Julia Goerges (Ger) 6-1, 6-1; Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) bt Jill Craybas (US) 6-4, 6-1; Marion Bartoli (Fra) bt Olivia Sanchez (Fra) 7-5, 6-2; Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Kirsten Flipkens (Bel) 6-3, 6-3; Justine Henin (Bel) bt Klara Zakopalova (Cze) 6-3, 6-3; Anastasia Pivovarova (Rus) bt Zheng Jie (Chn) 6-4, 6-3; Samantha Stosur (Aus) bt Rossana De Los Ros (Par) 4-6, 6-1, 6-0; Daniela Hantuchova (Svk) bt Olga Govortsova (Blr) 7-5, 6-3; Yanina Wickmayer (Bel) bt Sybille Bammer (Aut) 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 7-5.
Women’s third round: Venus Williams (US) bt Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) 6-3, 6-4; Flavia Pennetta (Ita) bt Polona Hercog (Slo) 6-3 6-0; Caroline Wozniacki (Den) bt Alexandra Dulgheru (Rom) 6-3, 6-4; Venus Williams (US) bt Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) 6-3, 6-4.