Paris:Local favorite Gael Monfils bowed out in the second round of the French Open to Fabio Fognini of Italy after losing a thriller 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 9-7 on Thursday that stretched over two days.
The 13th-seeded Monfils had saved three match points before their match was suspended because of darkness on Wednesday at 5-5 in the fifth set.
Fognini was booed when he came back on the court for just 31 minutes on Thursday and withstood the crowd pressure to save a break point on his first game serve.
He made the decisive break in the 16th and last game coming back from love-40.
"He played well and he won," Monfils said. "I like him. It was a strange match but he was better then me."
Their relations weren't so friendly before play was halted around 10 p.m. on Wednesday.
Monfils, a former French Open semifinalist, had served for the match at 5-3 in the third and blown it.
Tempers flared in the fifth set before the ninth game, when Fognini was reluctant to play because of darkness and was deducted a point.
"At 4-4 in the fifth set, the tournament referee (Stefan Fransson) asked Fabio if he wanted to keep playing," Monfils said. "He said 'yes' twice. We could hardly see anything. I had already played in the dark before and both of us wanted to try to finish the match."
But Fognini changed his mind. Following a long discussion with Fransson about whether to suspend the match, Fognini was still unhappy with the decision to continue and kept arguing, which led to Monfils being awarded a free point.
Fognini accrued three match points at 5-4, but failed to convert any, and had some more choice words for the chair umpire while packing up his equipment for the night.
Fognini, who had never won a match at Roland Garros before this week, regretted his behavior.
"At 4-4 in the last set, there was a lot of tension," he said. "At 5-4, 15-40, somebody directed a laser pointer towards me. That's when I said very bad things in Italian."
Fognini, through to the third round for the first time in any Grand Slam event, will next face 20th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.