Giustino Wins Three-Hour Fifth Set 18-16 For First Tour-Level Win
Italian qualifier to play Schwartzman after epic
The Italian qualifier fell back onto the clay of Court 14 in disbelief after a 0-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(3), 2-6, 18-16 victory over Corentin Moutet after six hours and five minutes. The deciding set alone lasted three hours.
"It means a lot for me. I think I improved a lot in these past two years. I believe in myself that I can make something better than I was before," Giustino said. "I'm trying to improve and in all the aspects, [the] mental aspect will be for sure one of the thing that I improved the most."
Twenty-eight minutes shy of Fabrice Santoro’s epic win over Arnaud Clement on Court Suzanne-Lenglen in the 2004 first round (six hours, 33 minutes), Giustino and Moutet’s first-round encounter also stretched over two days. It had resumed mid-afternoon on Monday with Giustino leading 4-3 in the third set. The Italian and his team watched Sunday as Jurij Rodionov defeated Jeremy Chardy 10-8 in a fifth set, so going into extended play wasn't a total surprise.
"What's funny is we were watching the match of Rodionov against Chardy and I said, 'No, there is no tie-break in the fifth?'" Giustino recalled. "I said, 'No, way, man.' And so my coaches said, 'You know that you will go like... 12-10 [or] something like that in the fifth.' I always do like this in my matches and look what happened. It's funny."
Giustino needed a final-set tie-break in his first-round qualifying match and he won 7-5 in the third set of his second-round qualifying contest.
The final stats were in favour of Moutet, who won 242 total points to Giustino’s 217 points and struck 88 winners to 57, but it’s 29-year-old Giustino who advanced to a second-round meeting against No. 12 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
"My feelings, I don't know. We played a really long match," Moutet said. "I don't feel anything in my body right now. I feel empty."
Giustino, who is currently No. 156 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, led 3-0 in the deciding set and had held one match point at 8-7, with Moutet serving at 30/40. Moutet broke to serve for the match at 14-13 and 15-14, but it was Giustino who decisively bounced back from 15/40 when serving at 16-16 en route to victory.
Moutet saved a second match point at 16-17, 15/40, when Giustino hit a backhand long. But the Italian cleverly placed a slower forehand that forced Moutet to lunge and, ultimately, slice into the net, on his third match point.
Is Giustino physically hurting after his epic triumph?
"No, no, no. I feel perfect," Giustino said, cracking a laugh. "Tomorrow I'll go run a bit because I think I'm too fresh."
Moutet, 21, reached his first ATP Tour final in January at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (l. to Rublev) and is now 8-7 on the 2020 season. Giustino is now 1-4 lifetime in tour-level matches.
Did You Know?
Giustino has played 254 ATP Challenger Tour matches, winning one title at that level. This was his fifth tour-level match. Earlier this year, he qualified for the Australian Open. Milos Raonic beat the Italian in straight sets.