Stefanos Tsitsipas has quelled the fire of American John Isner to reach the fourth round of the French Open under lights at Roland Garros.
If the fifth seed, one of the favourites to win the title, had hoped facing the big American at night would have made his big game a little easier to handle, he had to think again.
Isner played a brilliant first set both on serve and from the baseline on clay, where his talents have always been overlooked, and, had he taken a break point at 3-3 in the second set the match might have turned out differently.
But Tsitsipas saved it with a gutsy forehand, willed himself first to hold serve and then to break, and eventually wore Isner down with his superior all-round game.
He took the third set on a tie-break and then surged to the finish line against a weary opponent to win 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 6-1, clinching it with an ace.
Earlier, Daniil Medvedev’s new-found love affair with Parisian clay continued as he eased into the fourth round.
The world No.2 had not won a match at the French Open prior to this year but he’s dropped just one set in three contests, with his latest success a 6-4 6-2 6-4 victory over giant American Reilly Opelka.
The 23-year-old is even taller than Isner and enjoys playing on clay but this was Medvedev’s day, the Russian breaking Opelka’s serve five times to move into the last 16.
“Clay in Roland Garros feels great this year,” said the 25-year-old.
“I said it from the beginning. I think it’s going to stay until the end of the tournament.
“Now I know to beat me, guys have to play good. This is always possible. It’s better to feel like this than when you know you can lose to yourself just playing bad.”
Medvedev’s fondness for the red stuff is likely to be tested in the next match when he takes on a clay-court specialist for the first time in Chile’s Cristian Garin, who defeated Marcos Giron 6-1 5-7 6-2 6-2.
Sixth seed Alexander Zverev began his tournament by coming from two sets down to beat Oscar Otte but has been rock solid since and saw off Laslo Djere 6-2 7-5 6-2 to reach round four.
There he will play Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who had won the first set against Henri Laaksonen 7-5 when the Swiss player retired through injury.
An amazing match on court 14 saw Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beat 15th seed Casper Ruud 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 7-6 (8-6) 0-6 7-5 after four hours and 35 minutes.
Ruud had reached at least the semi-finals of his previous four tournaments and was tipped as a dark horse but it was Fokina who came out on top, saving a break point in the final game with an underarm serve.
Argentina’s Federico Delbonis is another man having a great clay-court season and he reached the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time with a comprehensive 6-4 6-1 6-3 win against 27th seed Fabio Fognini.
The Italian, never one to hide his emotions, needed medical treatment after punching the strings of his racket in frustration.
Also through is 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who beat American Steve Johnson 6-4 6-4 6-2.