A review of the Hisense Arena night session match between Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon.
During their strangely mesmorising, dramatic and quirky Hisense Arena night match, Simon and Monfils played what felt like a million long rallies, including one that was 71 shots, the longest of the tournament.
Simon had issues in various parts of his body, did all sorts of stretches between games, seemed quite troubled and requested a chocolate bar. Monfils had a spill, later got his hand taped and slugged back a lot of Coca-Cola.
The match and long rallies went on and on and on.
No one seemed to want to lose. Or win. Just continue drilling the ball.
The crowd went wild every time a clean winner was hit (not very often for a while there, although it picked up around the four hour mark). A few times I thought the players might nod off, being lulled into a relaxed state by the slow pace and rhythm of their racquets.
In his commentary for FoxSports Wally Masur’s comments included “I’ll never understand that rally” and “I thought the umpire was going to invoke a mercy rule for Simon”.
I really wanted an early night but couldn’t tear myself away from the TV. It was an incredible display of stamina by the players, the crowd and those watching from afar.
Simon served for the match at 5-4 in the fifth but Monfils broke back for 5-5. Held serve for 6-5. Simon held for 6-6. Broke for 7-6. And phew, served it out for 8-6. After 4 hours and 43 minutes.
The players hugged.
Relief swept through everyone watching.
Simon plays Murray next round. Am sure he enjoyed watching it.
In this article from the Australian Open
The final fifth set was a one hour 34 minute epic in itself, as both players pushed themselves seemingly beyond the realms of the physically possible. Simon struggled through leg and forearm cramps, while Monfils battled hand blisters. And those were just the obvious ailments.
And spare a thought for the legends doubles players who were waiting to play next. Fortunately their match was cancelled.
Some snippets from Twitter:
Of those 334 points, only 4 of them were serve-and-volley. The serve-and-volley attempter won 75% of those. Just a thought.
* It was 334 points long by 6-5 in the fifth.
47 shot-rally won by Monfils to save break pt. A match like this makes you realize why the French started guillotining each other.
Les Misérables duel on to a 5th chapter; who’ll be the last frenchie standing? Simon can barely walk; Monfils could barely hold the racquet.
Also read the Australian Open Day 6 Update for more of Saturday’s tennis news and results.
That’s it for now. Sleep well.
Grand Slam Gal