Kevin Anderson urges limit on 5-set matches at French Open

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South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in action against Chile's Cristian Garin during the 2020 ATP Cup at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane on 6 January 2020.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in action against Chile's Cristian Garin during the 2020 ATP Cup at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane on 6 January 2020.
Jono Searle/Getty Images

Two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson on Tuesday called for French Open organisers to consider introducing a fifth set tie-break to bring the tournament into line with similar rules in place at the other three majors.

Wimbledon and the Australian Open have revised their final-set rules in recent years to reduce the demands on players, following the policy of the US Open established in the 1970s.

Roland Garros remains the only Slam to use the advantage set rule requiring a player or team to win the deciding set by two games.

"I think instituting something would be good," said Anderson, whose 26-24 defeat of John Isner in the fifth set of the 2018 Wimbledon semi-finals prompted the All England Club to adopt a tie-break to settle matches that reach 12-all in the decider.

Similarly, a 10-point tie-break is now implemented at 6-all in the final set at the Australian Open.

"If it was up to me, I would think that capping it at some point in time. I know every Grand Slam is different," continued the South African, a runner-up at the US Open in 2017 and Wimbledon the following year.

"I think I would encourage the French Open to put some sort of limit on it. I mean, even like Wimbledon, 12-all. My personal opinion is I think at 6-all, that's a good time to play a tiebreak.

"If somebody had to ask me, that's what I would choose. As you've seen, when it does go past that, it can be very taxing. At some stage it does get a little bit much."

Isner was also famously involved in the longest match in Wimbledon history when he beat Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the deciding set in 2010 after over 11 hours on court over three days.

Anderson's remarks came a day after the second longest match ever at the French Open, a 6hr 05min marathon between Lorenzo Giustino and Corentin Moutet.

Italian qualifier Giustino outlasted Frenchman Moutet 18-16 in the final set in a contest that fell 28 minutes short of the tournament's record tie between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement in 2004.

However, Anderson stood firm in his belief that matches at majors should retain their best-of-five sets format.

"I would definitely say that I'm a big fan of continuing to play three-out-of-five sets. I feel like it's a very unique setup," said Anderson whose marathon with Isner at Wimbledon two years ago stretched to 6 hours 30 minutes, the second longest in the history of the tournament.

"I feel there's different demands that you don't experience playing two-out-of-three sets. With so much history, every Grand Slam, I feel like it's part of our sport."

French Open results at Roland Garros on Tuesday, the third day of the delayed 2020 championship (x denotes seeded player):


First round

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-0, 6-2, 6-3

Ricardas Berankis (LTU) bt Hugo Dellien (BOL) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4

Christian Garin (CHI x20) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4

Marc Polmans (AUS) bt Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x10) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 6-1

Attila Balazs (HUN) bt Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 6-2, 6-3, 7-5

Lloyd Harris (RSA) bt Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7)

Matteo Berrettini (ITA x7) bt Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-3, 6-1, 6-3

Marcos Giron (USA) bt Quentin Halys (FRA) 7-5, 3-6, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 8-6

Thiago Monteiro (BRA) bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO x31) 7-5, 6-4, 6-2

Dusan Lajovic (SRB x22) bt Gianluca Mager (ITA) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-1

Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-2, 6-3, 6-4

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) bt Harold Mayot (FRA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 7-5

Andrey Rublev (RUS x13) bt Sam Querrey (USA) 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-4, 6-3

Denis Shapovalov (CAN x9) bt Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3

Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 6-1, 6-1, 6-0

Andrej Martin (SVK) bt Joao Sousa (POR) 7-5, 6-1, 6-2

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x18) bt Gregoire Barrere (FRA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Pablo Cuevas (URU) bt Henri Laaksonen (SUI) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x5) bt Jaume Munar (ESP) 4-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4


First round

Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x8) bt Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-3, 6-1

Darya Kasatkina (RUS) bt Harmony Tan (FRA) 6-2, 6-1

Nao Hibino (JPN) bt Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 6-4, 6-0

Ons Jabeur (TUN x30) bt Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1

Clara Tauson (DEN) bt Jennifer Brady (USA x21) 6-4, 3-6, 9-7

Danielle Collins (USA) bt Monica Niculescu (ROU) 2-6, 6-2, 6-1

Elena Rybakina (KAZ x14) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-0, 6-3

Fiona Ferro (FRA) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4

Irina Maria Bara (ROU) bt Donna Vekic (CRO x26) 6-3, 6-4

Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) bt Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1

Ana Bogdan (ROU) bt Timea Babos (HUN) 6-4, 6-2

Sofia Kenin (USA x4) bt Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Petra Martic (CRO x13) bt Misaki Doi (JPN) 7-6 (7/2), 7-5

Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) bt Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 6-2, 6-3

Laura Siegemund (GER) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 7-5, 6-3

Julia Goerges (GER) bt Alison Riske (USA x19) 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1

Sloane Stephens (USA x29) bt Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 6-2, 6-2

Paula Badosa (ESP) bt Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-2, 6-1

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x2) bt Mayar Sherif (EGY) 6-7 (9/11), 6-2, 6-4

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