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Two Monaco Natives, One Unforgettable Tie-Break

Plantation, U.S.A.

Couillard, Balleret© Martha GreggGuillaume Couillard and Benjamin Balleret pose beside the scene of their marathon tie-break in Plantation.

On a clay-court in Plantation, southern Florida, Sunday, a remarkable tie-break took place between two Monaco natives.

Davis Cup team mates and long-time friends Benjamin Balleret and Guillaume Couillard set out to contest a third round qualifying match at a $10,000 ITF Futures tournament.

Without a chair umpire they were forced to call their own lines. 

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Speaking to ATPWorldTour.com, Balleret admitted, “Neither of us sensed the first set would last so long. We were both really tight, because we know each other so well. We didn’t want to lose it. When we switched ends during the tie-break, with the score in the 20s and 30s, we were laughing.”

Contesting a 70-point tie-break, Balleret eventually won it 36-34.

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“I remember having a lot more set points than Guillaume," said 29-year-old Balleret. "I’m not certain how many, but recall we were both nervous and it wasn’t great tennis."

Couillard later tweeted that he had 11 set points in tie-break, meaning that Balleret had at least 19 set points.  

“To clinch the set, I hit a kick serve that Guillaume returned short and I was able to hit a forehand winner into space,” said Balleret.

World No. 636 Balleret swept through the second set 6-1. “The second set was very quick, Guillaume was mentally tired.”

Balleret went onto qualify for the main draw. The Plantation Open is being held at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center, which has 26 clay courts and two hard courts. 

The 37-year-old Couillard does not have an Emirates ATP Ranking. His career-high was No. 569 in October 2002.

The longest tie-break on record, at a tour-level event, came in the 1985 Wimbledon first round when Michael Mortensen and Jan Gunnarsson beat John Frawley and Victor Pecci 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(24).

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© Neven Gerencir

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