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Analysis: Let Slam rules be — 5 sets; no ‘breaker in Paris

Analysis: Let Slam rules be — 5 sets; no ‘breaker in Paris

Stadium workers watch Argentina's Diego Schwartzman celebrate his win as the duration of the match, five hours and eight minutes, is shown in the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Austria's Dominic Thiem at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020.

Stadium workers watch Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman celebrate his win as the duration of the match, five hours and eight minutes, is shown in the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Austria’s Dominic Thiem at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020.

AP

As it is, Rafael Nadal would be a big favorite to win his French Open semifinal, of course. He is, after all, a 12-time champion and a combined 24-0 in that round and finals at Roland Garros; he’s 9-1 against Friday’s opponent, Diego Schwartzman.

There’s also this working in Nadal’s favor: He is coming off a three-set quarterfinal; Schwartzman toiled for five sets across 5 hours, 8 minutes in his previous match.

That’s an advantage Nadal earned, in part, by being more efficient. He deserves any edge it gives him — just like Schwartzman had an edge in his quarterfinal against Dominic Thiem, who had gone five sets in the fourth round. That’s merely one reason that any discussion of switching from best-of-five-set matches to best-of-three for men at Grand Slam tournaments is misguided.

Others: The current format allows for more plot twists, more comebacks, more suspense, more drama; it makes major championships distinct from lesser events; it rewards superior stamina and focus; it fosters fascinating and — sometimes, though not always — memorable matches.

When Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 22-year-old from Greece who faces No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals Friday, talked about skipping school to watch Roland Garros on TV as a kid, the first match that sprang to mind was a 6-hour, 33-minute win for Fabrice Santoro over Arnaud Clement in 2004 that ended 16-14 in the fifth.

“I watched some epic thrillers, five-set matches,” Tsitsipas said.

Each of the past four Slam men’s finals went

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Let Slam rules be — 5 sets; no ‘breaker in Paris

Let Slam rules be — 5 sets; no ‘breaker in Paris

As it is, Rafael Nadal would be a big favorite to win his French Open semifinal, of course. He is, after all, a 12-time champion and a combined 24-0 in that round and finals at Roland Garros; he’s 9-1 against Friday’s opponent, Diego Schwartzman.



Stadium workers watch Argentina's Diego Schwartzman celebrate his win as the duration of the match, five hours and eight minutes, is shown in the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Austria's Dominic Thiem at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)


© Provided by Associated Press
Stadium workers watch Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman celebrate his win as the duration of the match, five hours and eight minutes, is shown in the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Austria’s Dominic Thiem at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

There’s also this working in Nadal’s favor: He is coming off a three-set quarterfinal; Schwartzman toiled for five sets across 5 hours, 8 minutes in his previous match.

That’s an advantage Nadal earned, in part, by being more efficient. He deserves any edge it gives him — just like Schwartzman had an edge in his quarterfinal against Dominic Thiem, who had gone five sets in the fourth round. That’s merely one reason that any discussion of switching from best-of-five-set matches to best-of-three for men at Grand Slam tournaments is misguided.



Argentina's Diego Schwartzman catches his breath after a rally in the fourth set of the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Austria's Dominic Thiem at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)


© Provided by Associated Press
Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman catches his breath after a rally in the fourth set of the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Austria’s Dominic Thiem at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Others: The current format allows for more plot twists, more comebacks, more suspense, more drama; it makes major championships distinct from lesser events; it rewards superior stamina and focus; it fosters fascinating and — sometimes, though not always — memorable matches.

When Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 22-year-old from Greece who faces No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals Friday, talked about skipping school to

Read the rest
Analysis: Let Slam rules be — 5 sets; no ‘breaker in Paris

Analysis: Let Slam rules be — 5 sets; no ‘breaker in Paris

As it is, Rafael Nadal would be a big favorite to win his French Open semifinal, of course. He is, after all, a 12-time champion and a combined 24-0 in that round and finals at Roland Garros; he’s 9-1 against Friday’s opponent, Diego Schwartzman.

There’s also this working in Nadal’s favor: He is coming off a three-set quarterfinal; Schwartzman toiled for five sets across 5 hours, 8 minutes in his previous match.

That’s an advantage Nadal earned, in part, by being more efficient. He deserves any edge it gives him — just like Schwartzman had an edge in his quarterfinal against Dominic Thiem, who had gone five sets in the fourth round. That’s merely one reason that any discussion of switching from best-of-five-set matches to best-of-three for men at Grand Slam tournaments is misguided.

Others: The current format allows for more plot twists, more comebacks, more suspense, more drama; it makes major championships distinct from lesser events; it rewards superior stamina and focus; it fosters fascinating and — sometimes, though not always — memorable matches.

When Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 22-year-old from Greece who faces No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals Friday, talked about skipping school to watch Roland Garros on TV as a kid, the first match that sprang to mind was a 6-hour, 33-minute win for Fabrice Santoro over Arnaud Clement in 2004 that ended 16-14 in the fifth.

“I watched some epic thrillers, five-set matches,” Tsitsipas said.

Each of the past four Slam men’s finals went five sets and were better for it; two ended in tiebreakers. That can’t happen this Sunday, and that’s OK.

That’s why it’s also misguided to think the French Open should join the other tennis major tournaments in adopting final-set tiebreakers.

“The subject has been discussed,” the French tennis federation told The

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