History was made on a remarkable day at the Mexican Open in Acapulco as Alexander Zverev’s win over Jenson Brooksby set the record for the latest-ever finish in tennis.
The match started at 1:30am local time and didn’t finish until 4.55am, with defending champion Zverev prevailing 3-6 7-6(10) 6-2 after saving two match points in the second-set tie-breaker.
The finish time breaks the previous record of 4.34am set by Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis at the 2008 Australian Open.
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It capped off an incredible day that had already seen the two longest matches in tournament history.
John Isner and Fernando Verdasco were the first to slug it out over three hours and 14 minutes. Isner saved a match point at 2-5 in the third set before beating Verdasco 7-5 6-7(4) 7-6(3).
Then it was the turn of Stefan Kozlov and Grigor Dimitrov.
Kozlov was not even in the draw on Monday morning after losing to Oscar Otte in the final round of qualifying at the weekend. However, he took full advantage of Maxime Cressy’s late withdrawal to beat Dimitrov in three hours and 21 minutes.
Kozlov, who suffered with cramping during the match, only found out he had a place in the main draw during a practice session with Rafael Nadal.
"I was playing a practice set with Nadal,” explained the world No 130. “At 3-3, 0-15, he breaks his string. I went to my bag, checked my phone and had 20 messages from Ali Nili (tournament supervisor) telling me that I entered the tournament".
Kozlov looked to be heading for a straight-sets win after breaking Dimitrov to move 5-3 ahead in the second set.
However, Kozlov cramped badly as he celebrated the break and fell to the floor. Dimitrov sportingly came round the net to check on his opponent and then when play resumed managed to level the match.
But Kozlov recovered in the third set and got the only break to seal an impressive win. His reward is either a clash with Denis Kudla or practice partner Nadal.
“Today I was totally expecting not to be playing,” said Kozlov. “Now I’ve got the biggest win of my career and I’m about to play Rafa Nadal.
“I was practising with him today at six o’clock and then I saw my messages. I think he’s just a fantastic human being, I just have so much respect and I can’t wait to put on a show with him.”
Kozlov sent Nadal a message after the match by writing 'Rafa, sorry for stopping the practice today' on an on-court camera.
Those two marathon matches would have been enough drama for the day but there was much more to follow.
After an on-court ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new stadium, Zverev and Brooksby took to court in the early hours of the morning.
Brooksby had taken Zverev to three sets in their only previous meeting in Indian Wells last year and he pushed the world No 3 close again.
The American took the opening set and continued to match Zverev during an absorbing one-hour and 51-minute second set.
Zverev saved two match points in the tie-break before coming through and then breaking for the first time in the match in the third set. Another break put Zverev in control and he managed to celebrate a memorable win at nearly 5am.
“Today I didn’t play my best, there’s no doubt about it," said Zverev.
"But I didn’t give up. I knew that I want to do well, I’m the defending champion and I want to give myself the best chance to win. I did well to survive today.
“Right now I’m happy that I won. I don’t know how Jenson feels, but it must be difficult. I’m happy to be a part of history. It was an incredible battle, I think it was an incredible match, and hopefully [there are] many more to come from me this week.
“Acapulco is always special to me. The crowd is always special. It’s always super loud here, the energy is unbelievable. At 5am the stadium is still quite full. There’s nowhere else in the world where the people appreciate tennis the way they do here.”

'Happy to be a part of history' - Zverev after completing latest ever tennis match finish

Zverev will next face Peter Gojowczyk after he beat Brandon Nakashima 6-4 6-4.
Top seed Daniil Medvedev opens against Benoit Paire on Tuesday evening. The Russian will secure the world No 1 ranking if he wins the title this week, no matter how Novak Djokovic performs in Dubai.
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