Home » Star’s ‘unbelievable’ meltdown stuns onlookers

Star’s ‘unbelievable’ meltdown stuns onlookers

Dutch tennis player Botic van de Zandschulp staged an epic collapse during his straight-sets loss to French star Gael Monfils during their round of 32 clash at the Qatar Open on Wednesday morning AEDT.

The 28-year-old van de Zandschulp was ranked as high as world No.22 in October 2022 before falling to the 70th rank.

After dropping the first set to Monfils 6-1 in just 26 minutes, van de Zandschulp was poised to grab the second set and equal the match before capitulating in specular scenes.

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Van de Zandschulp brought up set point while serving up a break at 5-3. However, he failed to consolidate and was broken by Monfils.

The Dutchman then achieved another two set points in the next game — one at 30-40 and another at 40-Ad — but both were saved by Monfils.

With Monfils then serving at 5-6, van de Zandschulp raced out to a 0-40 lead in the game and banked another three set points, but in playing survival tennis, Monfils saved all three.

Becoming frustrated with Monfils’ spirited tennis, the one-time ATP Challenger singles champion destroyed his racquet, receiving a code violation from chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani as punishment.

Monfils soon levelled at 6-6 in the set, forcing a tiebreak.

The former world No.6 jumped out of the blocks, hitting a 6-3 lead with three match points in hand. But in another twist to the match, van de Zandschulp saved all three before bringing up a seventh set point of his own.

He could not hold it but soon had another set point at 8-7 — which he again threw away with an unforced forehand error.

Van de Zandschulp tallied his ninth set point when he aced his next serve to lead 9-8.

In remarkable scenes — despite winning that point — van de Zandschulp was so seemingly hung up on his previous mishit that he launched a ball into the stands in Doha.

This saw him receive another code violation from umpire Lahyani.

But as he had already received a warning for his earlier outburst, van de Zandschulp copped a point penalty. This wiped out his ninth set point as Monfils was awarded the point to level again at 9-9.

“This is unbelievable,” one commentator said.

“As if we haven’t seen it all during this breaker.”

Another replied: “I can’t believe that. I cannot believe that. [Van de Zandschulp had] won the point.”

Monfils then brought up match point before securing the 6-1, 7-6(9) win in 102 minutes.

“To be honest, he played good. I lost a little bit of focus. Then I brought back the energy, you guys pushed me,” Monfils told the crowd during his on-court interview.

“It was a real battle. In the end, I was a bit fortunate. But you know, I’ll take it.”

Speaking of the crazy tiebreak during his post-match press conference, Monfils admitted that he was “a bit fortunate” at the end.

“[Van de Zandschulp] started to get angry, but the fact that I sensed he was nervous made me tense. In the end, I came out of it with a lot of luck and success,” he said.

Monfils will next play Zhang Zhizhen in the round of 16 on Thursday.