In what very well may have been the emotional high of this years French Open, charismatic Jo-Wilfried Tsonga gave the partisan crowd something to chant about.
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
And chant they did, as the electric Frenchmen with the can't-miss-smile stormed back in a fourth set tiebreaker—and advanced to the third round—over Argentine Juan Monaco, 7-5, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8).
Excitement was at a fever pitch in the deciding moments of the fourth set as Tsonga, trailing 5-1 in the tiebreak, bravely stormed back to even the score at 5-5. "Tsonga! Tsonga!" chants reverberated throughout the rafters at Court Suzanne Lenglen, and as hard as Monaco tried to stem the tide, he finally wilted on Tsonga's third match point.
As Tsonga executed a series of volleys for his final put-away, he fell to the court in complete and utter joy and the adoring French crowd erupted in unison.
It was a truly surreal moment, with fans rooting on one of their great hopes for this year's event and showering him with boisterous cheers. A beautiful and heartfelt exchange between the two players at the net ensued, with Monaco displaying a keen sense of understanding of the moment that served to further enhance the giddiness in the air.
Tsonga, who had never won at Roland Garros until the first round this year, will face Belgian Christophe Rochus next in the third round.
The No. 9 seed from Le Mans, France will no doubt benefit from the support of the partisan crowd, as Rochus, who has defeated French players Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement in rounds one and two respectively, will more than likely be forced to face the ire of the French crowd on Phillipe Chatrier.
Monfils Also a Winner
Gael Monfils, a semifinalist in last year's French Open, invigorated the French crowds even more, as he was an easy straight set winner over Victor Crivoi, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
Mark Gicquel, Jeremy Chardy, Josselin Ouanna, and Gilles Simon are the other French players who have gone through to the third round.