If you missed the experience of watching this thing go down live, I don't know that I can do it justice.
To be clear, Gumby should have closed this out in three sets. There's no reason this should have gone five but hey, that's Gael for ya. He wanted drama and entertainment, so he decided to create it regardless of whether it was in his best interest or not.
Because Gael is nothing if not a giver.
But we found ourselves in a fifth set. Because of the numerous rain delays throughout the day darkness began to fall. At 4-4, after play had been stopped on all other courts, the tournament director came out to suspend play.
The following is just my reading of what happened next. Gael wanted to play on. Fognini kinda didn't really but knew that if he was the one that put the end to it the crowd would go nuts and he would be painted as the bad guy. After much negotiating, the tourney director let them play on.
Fognini was peeved and started stalling for a few minutes. Carlos Bernardes finally gave him a point penalty for delay of game. So, serving at 0-15, to the sound of whistles and boos, Fognini somehow manages to hold serve after a long-ass game.
The tourney director lets them play on even though, SERIOUSLY IT WAS DARK. The ESPN commentators couldn't see the court from their booth and the only light on the court was from jumbotron scoreboard looming overhead. Despite all this, Fognini found himself with immaculately groomed eyebrows AND 3 MATCH POINTS! WHICH HE COULDN'T CONVERT! Gael would hold and the match was finally suspended as Fognini stormed off the court screaming at anyone who would listen.
So they'll finish this match tomorrow, but there's enough schadenfreude to go around. Gael was the one who wanted to keep playing and he found himself on the brink of losing. Fognini's stall tactic basically wasted 6 minutes of time that might have made a difference in terms of light. And the tourney director let them play on either at the request of his popular guy or because he wanted to get the match in the books to unburden Thursday's schedule, and now he finds people calling him a bonehead *and* he still has to schedule this for tomorrow.
Oh, France. You so crazy.