Italy's Lorenzo Sonego qualified for the last 16 of a major for the first time Friday after edging out Taylor Fritz at Roland Garros in a 36-point tiebreak, the joint second longest in Grand Slam history.
World number 46 Sonego required seven match points to close out a 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 7-6 (19/17) win and finish off the American 27th seed following a 30-minute tiebreak.
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It fell two points shy of the record 38-point tiebreak played by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Roddick and the 2007 Australian Open.
Not only was it the second-longest in Grand Slam history, the marathon tie break was also the longest in the history of the French Open.
Fritz, who was broken just once the entire match, blew nine set points in the third set including six in the tiebreak.
"I'm going to be up all night thinking about what I could have done different, especially in that third set, like on every single set point I made the return and I made like pretty good returns on almost all of them," said Fritz.
"I have definitely never played a tiebreaker like that and probably never will again."
Sonego, 25, takes on the winner of the tie between 12th seed Diego Schwartzman and Norbert Gombos for a place in the quarter-finals.
Five Italians reached the men's third round at Roland Garros this year -an Open era record for the country. No more than two have made the last 16 before at the same major.
Sonego just won one most incredible tiebreaks I’ve ever seen. Comes through 19-17 in the third set to beat Fritz.
— Eddie (@TennisAsia) October 2, 2020
Lorenzo Sonego saves NINE set points in the 3rd set and beats Taylor Fritz 7-6(5), 6-3, 7-6(17) to reach the 4th round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his life. 31 minutes 3rd set tiebreak.
Fritz played a great match and lost in straights. pic.twitter.com/y7tzFbiApt
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) October 2, 2020
Big names win through after French Open marathon
Defending French Open champion Rafael Nadal and Austria's Dominic Thiem have continued their unblemished starts at the French Open with successive straight sets victories in the third round.
Nadal, the 12-time champion, recorded his 96th Roland Garros win as the world No.2 crushed Italy's Stefano Travaglia 6-1 6-4 6-0 to ease into the last 16.
Thiem prevailed 6-4 6-3 6-1 against Norway's Casper Ruud earlier on Court Philippe Chatrier and goes on to face 20-year-old Frenchman Hugo Gaston, who produced the upset of the day.
Qualifier Gaston, who is ranked at 239 in the world, bested 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland over five sets as he fought from a set down to succeed 2-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-0.
It was a good day for Italian players as 19-year-old Jannik Sinner progressed 6-3 7-5 7-5 against Argentina's Federico Coria while compatriot Lorenzo Sonego defeated American Taylor Fritz after a record tie-break 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-6 (19-17).
Nadal will have the chance to equal Roger Federer's record of 20 grand slams if he goes on to lift the trophy again for a record-extending 13th time.
The Spaniard asserted his dominance on the clay against Travaglia in the first set en route to victory in 1 hour 31 minutes.
Nadal comes up against 20-year-old US qualifier Sebastian Korda, who is the son of the Czech Republic's 1998 Australian Open winner Petr.
With AAP/Nate Williams
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