Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsVideosScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Erik Gudris | @atntennis | Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Gael Monfils battled cramps and Sebastian Baez to win a late-night Paris thriller 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5.

Photo credit: Lewis Storey/Getty

French veteran Gael Monfils looked completely out of it in the final set of his Roland Garros night match against World No. 42 Sebastian Baez of Argentina.


Then Monfils turned on his trademark magic to complete an improbable yet very satisfying comeback win late into the Paris night, delighting fans in the crowd and watchers around the world. In fact, it will likely go down as one of his most memorable victories in his long career. 


From 0-4 down in the final set, the 36-year-old Monfils rallied to win 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 to put himself in the second round of his home major. 



“You forget that’s the first round. I’ve lived a crazy thing," Monfils said. "I won a match that I knew would be hard. I had played Baez in a training session last week and I found that he was a monster.

"It’s one of the great moments of sport I have lived.”


The nearly four-hour battle on Court Philippe-Chatrier reached a truly dramatic crescendo after both men split the first four sets. Baez jumped out to a 4-0 double break lead in the final set and appeared poised to run away with the match. When Monfils managed to win his first game in the fifth set, the crowd erupted in support.


That inspired the Frenchman to keep fighting. 


Monfils eventually broke at love for 2-4, and then held for 3-4. The late-night Paris crowd started singing the French national anthem to support their countryman on the changeover.


Monfils then broke to even things at 4-all after Baez netted a critical forehand. Yet the momentum was short-lived as Baez broke right back for 5-4 as Monfils showed signs of fatigue.


Baez served for the match, but couldn't get to match point as Monfils summoned more resolve from deep inside to deny his opponent. Somehow, Monfils found enough energy to push through.


Finding himself at break point in the 10-point, 12th game, he unloaded on a forehand winner to break back at 5-all.


With the crowd fervently on his side, Monfils in the next game ripped a backhand winner to go up 6-5. Baez left the court momentarily before returning to serve for a tiebreak.


Monfils, though cramping and almost on playing on one leg, was determined not to let his opportunity slip by. 


Hanging tough with his opponent, Monfils managed to get to match point on his own terms. Monfils then ripped a final backhand down-the-line pass winner, his 41st winner of the night to secure the unexpected yet exciting five-set victory. 



 With that, Monfils later collapsed onto the court in tears after completing one of the most satisfying wins of his long career. 




This is Monfils' first ATP win since August of last year after recovering from a foot injury and his first win at a major since his fourth round win at the 2022 Australian Open. 

After the match, Monfils told Marion Bartoli, "I said to myself I haven't won a match since I became a dad, my daughter is in Paris, so I said to myself, 'I'm going to win one. I started to take a step back, believe in the energy of the crowd. We did it together."


Monfils faces No. 6 seed Holger Rune in the next round. 


Latest News