Marathon Man Kei Nishikori scored a gruelling 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Russia’s Karen Khachanov in second round action on Wednesday in Paris.
This was Nishikori’s 26th five-set career win and second on the trot.
Nishikori, currently ranked 49 in the world, now owns a remarkable 26-7 win-loss record in five-set matches and has won 10 of the last 11 five-set clashes he has contested.
A three-time quarterfinalist at Roland-Garros, Nishikori also needed five sets to come through his opening round against Italian qualifier Alessandro Giannessi earlier this week.
The 31-year-old has spent eight hours and two minutes on court through his first two matches in Paris.
“Trust me, I hate playing five sets. I’m not doing this on purpose,” said Nishikori after the match.
Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas marched into the French Open third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Spaniard Pedro Martinez.
He served eight aces and struck 44 winners in a strong display against a stubborn opponent in world number 103 Martinez.
“I’m really happy that my tennis is there, my performance is there and that I’m able to create a really good atmosphere on this court,” said the Greek.
Tsitsipas, who lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets in last year’s semifinals, will take on the towering John Isner next.
Azarenka crushes teen dream
Victoria Azarenka overcame Danish teenager Clara Tauson 7-5 6-4 in the second round on Wednesday.
The Belarusian 15th seed, a former semi-finalist at Roland Garros, started strong when she broke Tauson in the opening game of the match but the Danish 18-year-old broke back to make it 2-2 in the first set.
However, Azarenka broke again to take a 6-5 lead before serving out the opening set. The pair then traded breaks twice in the second set, with both players making a number of unforced errors.
But the vastly experienced Azarenka, 31, had the crucial break of serve again at 4-4 to take the lead. She then held serve to clinch victory and book a third round match with American 23rd seed Madison Keys.
Alexander Zverev battled past Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-6(1) to move into the third round at the French Open.
“I’m happy not to have played another five-setter. I think it’s going to be important for me during the course of this tournament. I’m looking forward to the next match.”
The German is known for getting past tough five-setters in the early rounds of French Open.
In 2018, he won three straight five-set matches to reach the quarter-finals, where he was overwhelmed by eventual finalist Dominic Thiem.
Last year, Zverev went the distance against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in Round 2.
Roberto Bautista Agut, the 11st seed, was handed a shocking exit by Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
The world No.150 is through to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time, on his eighth main-draw appearance.
Laaksonen fired 53 winners, compared to a meagre 17 from Bautista Agut, and broke the Spaniard’s serve six times. This is Bautista Agut’s earliest Roland-Garros departure since 2015.