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Monfils-Baez's dramatic finish at Roland Garros: on one leg, the Frenchman avoided a perfect Tuesday for Argentina


Highlights: Gael Monfils beat Sebastián Báez 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6 and7-5 in the first round of the French Open at Roland Garros. The match lasted three hours and 47 minutes of play. The victory made the tournament the most matches (21) defined in five sets in first round. It was the best match of the tournament so far, says former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who was beaten by Juan Martin del Potro.

The 'Panther', away from the circuit after being a father at 36 years old, took advantage of the push of the public to get a magical comeback in five sets, despite the cramps that did not let him almost walk.

It was a show that ended after midnight in Paris. It was a show that had absolutely everything but had plenty of drama. It was a match that had, of course, a winner and a loser. We will have to start with the last one. For the defeated. For which he left with all the anger together for having had a 4-0 advantage in the fifth set but could not take advantage. Because the one who left the Philippe Chatrier with his head down, submerged in a capital impotence, turned out to be Sebastián Báez. The Argentine could not maintain the unbeaten national tennis on a Tuesday of emotions and was eliminated, surely, much sooner than he himself would have imagined.

On the other side was the huge smile, the absolute happiness of the victor. Frenchman Gael Monfils did everything to win and took the jackpot. But most of all, he marveled at his resilience at age 36. Who today is submerged in the depths of the world ranking, almost on the verge of falling from the top 400 and far from those years of top ten and central figure of the circuit – by game and charisma – gave himself one of the great tastes of his career and before his people he won by 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6 and 7-5 in a battle that lasted three hours and 47 minutes of play.

Monfils is a character within the circuit. A player who has a unique magnetism. And that at Roland Garros is enhanced like few others. The French love him because he continues to give away a unique game in which delivery is left over. Sometimes he errs on the side of exaggerating some physical discomfort (this Tuesday something of that happened when it seemed that he would fall collapsed before the two match points he had and both points he played as if he were fresh as a lettuce) but his talent forgives everything.

Gael Monfils looked like he couldn't step on the cramps, but he played the ending like he was fresh as a lettuce. Photo: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

It was the best match so far at Roland Garros 2023. Monfils and Báez worshipped the famous night sessions of the Grand Slams and gave an exciting match, with a stadium delivered to his idol, vibrating with the constant physical and emotional ups and downs of a magician like Monfils who met a rival of an opposite style that makes solidity his greatest strength.

The 'Panther' arrived with little rhythm, far from his level and his rival was of great demand. But no one doubted that he would give everything and do the impossible to compete at the highest level. In the first set the Argentine was much better for his strength also taking advantage of the weak start of a slow and passive Monfils. What happened in the second anticipated the script of what would come next. It was the beginning of a Hollywood movie because the winner raised the level, began to enjoy and find those sensations that make him a unique player.

He got a little more on the court, he was aggressive and consistent. Everything was completely unleashed in an unforgettable third partial in which the end was the best summary of Monfils' career. In that span he played his best tennis. That effort took its toll in the fourth set that Baez dominated from start to finish. And he continued on the same route until 4-0. Nerves caught him. Monfils smelled blood and went for the prey. Only he knew that he would not abandon that stage that is a temple of tennis at any price. He brought out the best in his repertoire, proved once again that he is a giant player and turned it around to provoke the unanimous outburst with the people singing the Marseillaise, the French National Anthem.

The victory made the tournament the most matches (21) defined in five sets in the first round. He passed the 20 of Wimbledon 1984, Flushing Meadows 1991 and Roland Garros 1992. But only one of those 21 will remain in everyone's memory. And Monfils and Báez, especially.

Photo: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

See also

Roland Garros 2023: the best photos of the French Open

See also

Roland Garros, day 3, LIVE: after the triumphs of Olivieri, Cerúndolo and Pella, Báez could not with the tricks of Monfils

Genaro Olivieri, the tennis worker who almost left everything for a tragedy and gave himself the pleasure of his life at Roland Garros

Thiago Tirante starred in the Roland Garros blooper: the explanation of why he did not realize he had won his first ATP match

Thiago Seyboth Wild, the Harry Potter fan who disobeyed his mom and pulled Daniil Medvedev out of Roland Garros

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-05-30

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