The ‘Pantera’, away from the circuit after being a father at 36, took advantage of the public’s push to achieve a magical comeback in five sets, despite the cramps that almost prevented him from walking.
It was a show that ended after Parisian midnight. It was a show that had absolutely everything but the one who had drama left over. It was a game that had, of course, a winner and a loser. We will have to start with the last one. For the defeated For which he left with all the anger together for having had a 4-0 advantage in the fifth set but that he could not take advantage of. Because the one who left Philippe Chatrier with his head bowed, submerged in a capital impotence, turned out to be Sebastian Baez. The Argentine could not maintain the undefeated national tennis on a Tuesday of emotions and was eliminated, surely, much sooner than he himself would have imagined.
On the other side was the huge smile, the absolute happiness of the winner. The French Gael Monfils he did everything to win and took the jackpot. But, above all, she marveled at his resilience at 36 years of age. Who today is submerged in the depths of the world ranking, almost on the brink of falling out of the top 400 and very far from those years of top ten and central figure of the circuit -by game and by charisma- he gave himself one of the great tastes of his career and before his people he imposed himself for 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6 y 7-5 in a battle that spanned three hours and 47 minutes of gameplay.
Monfils is a character within the circuit. A player who has a unique magnetism. And that at Roland Garros he is empowered like few others. The French love him because he continues to give away a unique game in which there is plenty of dedication. Sometimes he sins of exaggerating some physical discomfort (this Tuesday something like that happened when it seemed that he would collapse before the two match points he had and he played both points as if he were fresh as a salad) but his talent forgives everything .
Was the best game so far at Roland Garros 2023. Monfils and Báez worshiped the famous nocturnal sessions of the Grand Slams and gave away an exciting match, with a stadium dedicated to their idol, vibrating with the constant physical and emotional ups and downs of a magician like Monfils who found himself with a rival of a opposite style that makes solidity its greatest strength.
The ‘Pantera’ arrived with little rhythm, far from his level and his rival was very demanding. But no one doubted that he would give everything and do the impossible to compete at the highest level. In the first set it was much better the argentine for his strength, also taking advantage of the weak start of a slow and passive Monfils. What happened in the second anticipated the script for what would come next. It was the beginning of a movie hollywood because the winner raised the level, began to enjoy and find those sensations that make him a unique player.
He got a little more on the court, he was aggressive and consistent. Everything was completely unleashed in an unforgettable third set in which the finish was the best summary of Monfils’ career. In that span he played some of his best tennis. That effort took its toll on him in the fourth set that Báez dominated from start to finish. And he continued on the same route until the 4-0. The nerves caught him. Monfils smelled blood and went for the prey. Only he knew that he would not leave that stage that is a temple of tennis at any price. He brought out the best in him, proved once again that he is a giant player and turned it around to provoke the unanimous explosion with the people singing the Marseillaise, the French National Anthem.
The victory made the tournament the Grand Slam with the most matches (21) defined in five sets in the first round. He spent 20 at Wimbledon 1984, Flushing Meadows 1991 and Roland Garros 1992. But only one of those 21 will remain in everyone’s memory. And from Monfils and Báez, above all.
#leg #Frenchman #avoided #perfect #Tuesday #Argentina