Melbourne: An exhausted Gilles Simon outlasted fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils in a five-set marathon that finished after midnight as he reached the Australian Open fourth round early on Sunday.
Simon, serving at half-pace as he battled severe pain in his elbow, finally served out the 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 1-6, 8-6 win after four hours, 43 minutes in front of an enthralled crowd at Hisense Arena.
"I was almost dying after the end of the second set," said Simon, who slumped in his chair after sealing the win. "I just tried to give my maximum and I think I managed to give it."
Simon now has two days to recover before facing US Open champion Andy Murray, who is on a run of 10 straight Grand Slam victories, on Monday.
The Australian Open has a history of long matches, with last year's title decider between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal the longest ever Grand Slam final, clocking in at five hours, 53 minutes.