Stan Wawrinka and Stefanos Tsitsipas had never played each other before Sunday, and when they finally met, they competed like they were the only chance they'll ever get.
Stan won the first set, 7-6? Stefanos won the second, 7-5. Wawrinka won the third set, 6-4? Tsitsipas won the fourth, 6-3. They split the first 12 games of the fifth set. No one could distance themselves from the other by any significant margin. Suzanne Lenglen, Suzanne Lenglen, Suzanne Lenglen, Suzanne Lenglen, Suzanne Lenglen dozens of jaw-dropping rallies.
But one of tennis's great ironies is a match which featured 389 total points came down to just a handful. Wawrinka saved eight break points in the fifth set, no more than the sixth, at 5-5, with an exchange of shots so that Tsitsipas ended up on the terre battue. Stan held his fist up, ready for more.
What he ever. He returned to his first match point at 7-6, 15-40, Wawrinka used his famous one-handed backhand not to smack a winner crosscourt, but to carve a slice backhand-one that curved around the net post, and delicately caught the sideline.
7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6. It was worth the wait.
"I feel exhausted, Tsitsipas said when it was over." I do not know. Never experienced something like this in my life. I feel very disappointed at the end.
"Long time that-long time since I cried after a match, so emotionally not easy to handle." I want to try to learn from it as much as I can. "[19659002ThequalityofthismatchisfinalanditmaynotbeperfectfortheremainderofthetournamentWawrinkawhowon19462withwinners
Maybe Wawrinka wants to be in the final, although it will require a win over Roger Federer in the quarterfinals (who won his Rafael Nadal in the semifinals: fourth-round match in just an hour and 42 minutes.
But after watching this display, anything seems possible for Wawrinka now.