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Monfils looks for an encore French Open performance against Rune

What will Gael Monfils do for an ecore?

It can’t get better than it did on Tuesday night, can it?

The odds are stacked against Monfils from pulling off another French Open miracle, but they also were in his first-round match against Sebastian Baez. The Frenchman, who had not won a match on the main tour since last summer and is just now returning from a foot injury, came back from a 4-0 deficit in the fifth set and battled through obvious physical struggles to stun Baez 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 after three hours and 47 minutes.

“I’m very, very happy,” Monfils said afterward. “It’s one of my best matches; the best sports moment I could experience…. It’s definitely in like [my] top two [matches of my career]. I had the same one almost kind of some years ago against [Pablo] Cuevas on [Court Suzanne] Lenglen. It was unbelievable atmosphere, as well. Of course this one is another flavor. I’m older, and even less chances, let’s say, to win this match today.”

The 36-year-old won’t be given much of a chance on Thursday. Not only is he coming off a grueling five-setter, but he also has to go up against Holger Rune.

How tough of an opponent is Rune? The 20-year-old Dane’s best result of his career came in Paris last fall with a 1000-point title on the indoor hard courts of Bercy. Now on red clay in Paris, he could be even more dangerous. Rune loves this surface, and his current clay-court swing already features runner-up performances in both Monte-Carlo and Rome.

Monfils, of course, is a heavy underdog. But following his first-round heroics, count him out at your own peril.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.