PARIS (Reuters) – Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas came through a stern test against tricky Bolivian Hugo Dellien to book his place in the French Open third round for the first time on Wednesday.
The sixth seed eventually won an intriguing claycourt contest 4-6 6-0 6-3 7-5 in front of an appreciative crowd on the stunning Court Simonne Mathieu, but it was a sweat.
Claycourt specialist Dellien, whose opening-round win was the first by a Bolivian player in a Grand Slam tournament since 1984, played a sensational 10th game to take the opening set despite needing treatment on his ankle.
Tsitsipas, 20, then took control with his aggressive all-round game but Dellien, who produced a succession of stunning drop shots, threatened to drag the match into a decider.
The world number 86 broke at the start of the fourth set, much to the annoyance of Tsitsipas who received a warning for slamming his racket into the net tape.
Dellien had the chance for a double break at 3-1 but Tsitsipas survived that mini-crisis and regained control.
It was never straightforward, though, and the crowd roared their approval when Dellien, who quit tennis in 2016 to set up an ice company, saved three match points at 4-5, the second with yet another cunning drop shot.
Tsitsipas was in no mood to be extended longer, however pleasant the surroundings of the new show court in the botanical gardens might be, and closed it out two games later with a clubbing forehand winner.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)