What Is The Longest And Shortest French Open Tennis Matches?

the French Open

The French Open, commonly known as Roland Garros, is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. The contest, which is held in Paris in late May, is the most famous tennis competition played on clay. Here, over the years, all-time greats such as Rafael Nadal and Martina Navratilova have established their dominance with legendary performances.

Santoro vs. Clement

With six hours and thirty-three minutes of play, the first-round encounter between French aces Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement is the longest match in French Open history. The match, which was played over two days, saw a fierce display between two players that went from being Davis Cup teammates to becoming archrivals.

Both players were having a great run of results heading into their first-round matchup, as Santoro had triumphed in the Australian Open doubles, while Clement had recently stunned number one ranked player Andre Agassi. Furthermore, Clement was seeking revenge in this match following his spat with the French Davis Cup team. Clement, indeed, had been excluded from the team just a few months earlier.

The match was extremely hard-fought as it had to be played over two days due to the nightfall on the first day. This 2004 first-round matchup is not only the longest in French Open history, but it was also the longest match in tennis history until the 2011 eleven-hour Wimbledon marathon between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.

1988 Women’s Singles Final

Tennis matches, especially the finals of one of the Grand Slam tournaments, are generally long events that last for at least two hours. However, this was not the case for the 1988 Women’s Singles French Open Final, as Steffi Graf claimed the crown beating Natasha Zvereva in only thirty-two minutes of play. 

The 1988 final was a highly anticipated matchup as Zvereva had triumphed in multiple Grand Slam tournaments as a doubles player, while Steffi Graf was coming off a run where she had won eleven titles and an Olympic gold medal. The match is not only the shortest in French Open history, but it is also the shortest-ever final of a Grand Slam tournament and the third-shortest match of all time. This display of pure dominance is a testament to the great career that Steffi Graf had. The German tennis player is, indeed, one of the few tennis players to ever win a Grand Slam final without ever dropping a single game.

Doubles’ Records

Over its 130 plus years of history, the French Open has seen some great battles in both men’s and women’s doubles. On two occasions, a double’s match in the men’s double tournament has lasted for 63 games, while the record for the women’s tournament is 50 games. The Borotra-Bougnon against Crawford-McGrath and Ashe-Riessen against Gorman-Smith matches took sixty-three games, while the matchup between Baker Fieltz-Hard and Bloomer-Hales took fifty games. Furthermore, the record for mixed doubles was established in 1956, when it took Nicola Pietrangeli and Shirley Brasher Boomer thirty-eight games to defeat Robert Howe and Lorraine Coghlan Robinson.