Top 5 active players with the best fifth set record
A best of five set match is what separates the men from the boys. Many players who are good over the best of three set format struggle to consistently assert their supremacy when required to win a third set.
The case of the supremely talented young German Alexander Zverev is a prime example in this regard. Zverev is one of the youngest winners of three Masters 1000 titles and the ATP Finals (2018), but has reached only two Grand Slam quarterfinals in 18 attempts.
To put this into perspective, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - the three all-time Grand Slam title leaders - took 9, 9 and 10 tournaments respectively to reach 2 Grand Slam quarterfinals, while Zverev took 16. On each occasion Nadal did so, he lifted the French Open title (2005-06).
Winning a best-of-five set match, especially against a good opponent, requires skill, mental resilience and physical conditioning to an extent not usually called for in a best of 3 set clash. Hence, success at Grand Slam tournaments - which are five set affairs - are considered the ultimate barometer of a player's mettle and pedigree.
Only 10 players in the Open Era have won over 30 fifth set matches, with Federer, Djokovic and Marin Cilic - 30 wins apiece - the only active players in that exclusive group. Let us now find out if the trio also features in the list of top five active players with the best 5th set record.
(Note: Only players with over 10 fifth set wins have been considered).
#5 Feliciano Lopez (24-11, 68.6%)
With 24 wins in 35 matches which have gone the distance, Feliciano Lopez possesses the 5th best fifth-set record by any active player with 10 or more fifth-set wins.
The elegant left-hander, with an unusually un-Spanish penchant to play his best game on grass, had his latest fifth-set win in 2017 in the second round of the French Open - where he beat his compatriot David Ferrer.
Lopez's first career singles title arrived following a five-set defeat of Argentine Guillermo Canas in the final at Vienna 2004. Another notable 5th set win for the southpaw came in the 2011 Wimbledon fourth round where he recovered from two sets down to beat Lukaz Kubot en route to his second Grand Slam quarterfinal (lost to Andy Murray).
Lopez also recovered from a two set deficit in the second round at Wimbledon 2016, where he downed Fabio Fognini.
The last of Lopez's 11 defeats in a fifth-set match happened in the second round at Wimbledon 2015 (lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili).