ATP Tennis 360

May 27, 2010 5:21 AM

They invented the night session at the Roland Garros. Without the reflectors

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The match between Fognini and Monfils, ended at 22.02, will remain as one of the more tournament-defining moments in modern history.

The noise by a knot of kids (yesterday it was the traditional Kids Day), the total absence of lights, the silence (contemporarily every other matches was suspended) transformed the final games into a "blind bullfight".

Fognini, summoned by his coach and his father, rightly protested to stop the encounter. Monfils, tried to persuade that the match could have gone on. And risked to commit one of the heaviest errors of his career.

Having been two sets and a break up, he earlier led Fognini, the most mercurial and talented Italian player, to come back. Fognini was back to the wall again, at 5-2 in the fourth with two breaks down, and gave life to an unforgettable show. Eight games won in a row, till 7-5 and 3-0 in the fifth. Then he wasted a break point to go leading 4-0 and immediately after handed a break back with two bleeding doubles in a row.

At this point it became dark. Fognini waved his racket up and down towards Carlos Bernardes, the chair umpire, who recurred to ITF supervisor Stefan Fransson, the same who made Adriano Panatta, then Davis Cup team captain, fool during a singles rubber in the 1997 Davis semifinal in France. Fransson imposed to continue playing. Fognini lost three match point against an opponent with cramps before the match was stopped at 5 all.

Many are speaking about scandal. Surely the influence of a French player and the French crowd had a role. But I think organizers hoped to finish the match to lighten the program, already retarded by rain showers.

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