One of those traditions is the lack of a final-set tiebreaker, and after his marathon second round singles match Tuesday, that’s one tradition Jo-Wilfried Tsonga could probably do without.
The big Frenchman did his best John Isner impersonation, slugging it out in a seemingly-endless third set with Canadian Milos Raonic before finally pulling out a 6-3, 3-6, 25-23 win. The third set smashed the previous Olympic record for most games in a set and lasted three hours.
On the final point, Tsonga fell behind the right baseline corner, scrambled back to his feet and eventually won the point at the net to break Raonic’s serve and clinch the win.
The previous record of 48 for was set during the 2004 Athens Games when Fernando Gonzalez of Chile outlasted American Taylor Dent, 6-4, 2-6, 16-14 in the bronze medal match.
But Tsonga and Raonic never approached the epic 2010 Wimbledon match that saw Isner edge Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in a match that spanned three days.
Raonic, ranked 23rd in the world, had more winners (74-60) than the fifth-ranked Tsonga and won more total points (180-178) overall. But the 21-year-old Canadian converted only 1 of 8 break point chances and Tsonga finally made him pay.
But Tsonga won’t have much time to savor his victory as he’s scheduled to face Feliciano Lopez in a third-round match Wednesday. The Spaniard beat Juan Monaco, 6-4, 6-4.