ATP Roland Garros: Paire edges Herbert 11-9! Wawrinka and Dimitrov advance


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ATP Roland Garros: Paire edges Herbert 11-9! Wawrinka and Dimitrov advance

In the battle of the players who had the rough start of the season due to injuries and lack of form, Grigor Dimitrov delivered a 6-7, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 triumph over Marin Cilic after four hours and 23 minutes. The Bulgarian, barely ranked in the top-50 a year and a half after claiming the ATP Finals title, earned the first top-20 win since Monte Carlo last year thanks to a thrilling victory and the fact he left everything on the court, winning two points more than Marin to advance into the third round for the fourth time here in Paris.

Blasting 60 winners and 45 unforced errors, Dimitrov was able to hold nerves in the closing stages of the fourth set moved over the top with three breaks in the decider to cross the finish line first and start a huge celebration.

Cilic grabbed only three breaks in the entire match, opening two sets to one lead with a single break in set number three before losing ground since the fourth set tie break, allowing Grigor to take control and dominate in the rest of the encounter to stay on just 17 matches before the grass season.

Filip Krajinovic is through to the third round at Majors for the second time this season, battling past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 8-6 after four hours and 15 minutes. The Serb had the match in his hands for two and a half sets, leading 3-1 in set number three and missing a match point at 6-5 on own serve.

This was a game changer for the Spaniard who won the tie break 7-1, coming from a break down in the fourth set as well to claim it 6-3 and build the momentum ahead of the decider. Filip continued to push strong, forging a 5-3 advantage in the fifth set and serving for the win twice at 5-4 and 6-5, earning another break in the 13th game and sealing the deal on own serve for an 8-6 and the place in the last 32.

World no. 252 Nicolas Mahut received a wild card for the singles main draw and used it with both hands, ousting Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours, scoring two wins at Major for the first time since the US Open 2017.

The inspired Frenchman got broken only once and there was no way Kohlschreiber could have followed that pace, giving serve away five times and ending his run in the second round. The 20-year-old Casper Ruud secured the place in the third round at Grand Slams for the first time, ousting the 29th seed Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and 21 minutes, hitting 38 winners and 20 unforced errors to overpower the hard-hitting Italian.

The Norwegian gifted service game one time and broke Matteo four times from 15 opportunities, taking the opening two sets with late breaks and rattling off six of the last seven games in set number three to march over the top and book the place in round three.

A former champion Stan Wawrinka reminded the crowd what he is capable off in Paris, toppling Christian Garin 6-1, 6-4, 6-0 in an hour and 40 minutes, firing 28 winners and 22 unforced errors, also fending off all five break points to mount the pressure on the Chilean who couldn't deal with it.

Wawrinka stole half of the return points and six breaks from 15 chances, firing from all cylinders and producing incredible tennis in sets one and three to leave Garin far behind and celebrate the 137th Grand Slam victory.

In the longest and one of the best matches of the tournament so far, Marrakech and Lyon champion Benoit Paire halted Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-7, 11-9 in four hours and 33 minutes! Serving at 49%, Paire managed to keep things under control behind the initial shot, finishing the match with 84 winners and 75 unforced errors, also with 15 aces and 13 double faults.

Creating 29 break points, Benoit seized ten and it just proved to be enough, suffering six breaks and prevailing in magnificent closure of the deciding set after wasting a massive lead. The older Frenchman grabbed four breaks in the first four sets for a commanding advantage, serving for a one-sided victory at 5-4 in set number three.

The drama was yet to begin, though, with Herbert taking three straight games to erase the deficit and steal the set 7-5, battling back from 5-3 down in the fourth to save the match point at 5-6 in the tie break, winning it 8-6 and opening a 2-0 lead in the decider, with the momentum entirely on his side.

Paire broke back and they traded two more in games five and six, staying close to each other until game 20 when Paire secured the pivotal break that pushed him into the third round after one of the most exciting matches he ever played.