Winners Get Their Due. But Losers Are Wonderfully Human.

The march of time waits on no one.

A few days later, a much younger player, Jannik Sinner of Italy — 21, seeded No. 8 and rising fast — took to Suzanne Lenglen Court against Daniel Altmaier, a journeyman ranked No. 79.

Sinner should have won without much trouble.

He nosed ahead early, but struggled. An hour passed. Altmaier caught up. Another hour went by. The match became a stalemate. Three hours turned to four. Sinner held two match points — and coughed up both. They headed into a fifth set. Sinner fell behind and came back: He faced four match points, but won them all.

And then … and then, after 5 hours 26 minutes, Sinner watched a screaming serve fly past his outstretched racket for an ace. Game. Set. Match. Final score: 6-7 (0), 7-6 (7), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5. The upset was the fifth-longest match in French Open history.

Sinner walked off the court messy and tussled, his face betraying the self-doubt common to losers. In other words, he was beautifully human.

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