By India Today Sports Desk: 24-year-old Daniel Altmaier did not have a crowd cheering for him when he reached the fourth round at Roland Garros in 2020. The German youngster played in front of empty stands due to the pandemic, 3 years ago in his best-ever Grand Slam showing but on Thursday, June 1, the Suzanne Lenglen crowd was chanting his name after he stunned 8th seed Jannik Sinner in a men’s singles second-round match.
Daniel Altmaier ranked No. 78, notched up his 2nd win over a top 10 player after his win over Matteo Berrettini at Roland Garros in 2020. In a match that extended to 5 hours and 26 minutes on a hot day in Paris, Altmaier held his nerves and played one of the best defensive games of the tournament to outclass World No. 8 Jannik Sinner 6-7(0), 7-6(7), 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-5. Altmaier saved 2 match points when Sinner was serving for the match at 5-4 in the 4th set.
Altmaier did not find closing the match out easy as he fluffed 5 match points in the final set and played a 12-minute final game before serving it out with an ace in his 6th match point. It was the first time since his Roland Garros debut in 2020 that the German has gone past the 2nd round on the clay-court Grand Slam.
Altmaier broke into tears as the crowd roared in delight, lauding his heroics at the Lenglen. The German player was not able to control his emotions as his tears of joy delayed the heartfelt on-court interview that followed.
“Playing every point you can with the best effort, that’s what keeps you in reality. I was just thinking that, and the competition says it all. We’ve had historic matches with so many match pointsâæ I don’t know if you can call this a ‘historical’ match, but I think it was one to remember,” Altmaier said when he was asked how he wriggled out of trouble against his much-fancied opponent.
Sinner was frustrated by the steely resolve that Altmaier showcased as he uncharacteristically smashed his racket into the ground in the final set. Altmaier turned defence into attack wonderfully well as he was rock solid from the baseline with his returns.
Altmaier thanked the crowd for the support that they gave him during the sensational match, which was the longest so far at this year’s Roland Garros. He will face Grigor Dimitrov in the third round match in Pairs.
Earlier in the day, 4th seed Casper Ruud staved off a threat from Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri in the men’s singles second round. Ruud, the finalist from 2022, dropped a set but he managed to keep his clam and complete a 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 victory.