Top 5 active players with the best fifth set record

Bhargav
Djokovic (2nd from left), Federer and Cilic have the most 5th set wins of any active player. Do they also have the best 5th set record amongst the active group?
Djokovic (2nd from left), Federer and Cilic have the most 5th set wins of any active player. Do they also have the best 5th set record amongst the active group?

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%)

Feliciano Lopez
Feliciano Lopez

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).

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#4 David Goffin (12-4, 75%)

David Goffin
David Goffin

Although 134 different players have had more fifth-set wins than the diminutive Belgian David Goffin's tally of 12, Goffin's 75% win-loss record (12-4) in 5th-set matches is only bettered by 12 players, active or otherwise, in the Open Era.

Goffin's 12th and latest 5th set win came in the third round at Wimbledon 2019 when he beat Daniil Medvedev from two sets to one down. The 2017 ATP Finals runner-up's last 5th set defeat was against Milos Raonic in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon 2016, where the Belgian squandered a two-set lead.

#3 Novak Djokovic (30-10; 75%)

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has the third highest tally of Grand Slam titles (16) in history. And with 30 wins and 10 losses, the Serb's fifth-set win-loss record is the 3rd best by an active player and 11th best in the all-time list.

Djokovic's famous fifth set wins include his wins over Roger Federer in the 2019 Wimbledon final and in the semifinals at 2010-11 US Open, in each of which the Serb saved a pair of consecutive match points. By doing so at Wimbledon, Djokovic became the first champion at SW19 in 71 years to save multiple championship points.

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By recording his 30th 5th-set win, Djokovic went level with the duo of Federer and Marin Cilic as the active players with the most wins in 5th-set matches. He is also one of only 10 players in the Open Era to have won 30 or more matches which have gone the distance.

Djokovic's 10th and latest 5th set defeat came to Dominic Thiem in the 2019 Roland Garros semifinals. The Serb's 9 other fifth-set defeats have come as follows: 3 at the Australian Open (2010, 2014, 2017), twice at the French Open (2010, 2013), twice at the US Open (2005, 2012), once at Wimbledon (2006), and once in the Davis Cup (2005).

The only time Djokovic lost from a two-set lead was in the 2010 French Open quarterfinals, against Jurgen Melzer.

To#2 Tommy Robredo (17-5; 77.3%)

Tommy Robredo
Tommy Robredo

With a 17-5 win-loss record, Tommy Robredo has the second-best 5th set record by an active player and 8th best all-time. However, the 205th ranked 37-year-old Spaniard had the last of his 5th set wins in the first round at the 2016 Australian Open.

Robredo is one of only 8 players in the Open Era to win three consecutive five-set matches, a feat he achieved at the 2013 French Open. The Spaniard is also the only player in the Open Era to win three consecutive matches at a Slam from two sets down.

Robredo beat Igor Sjisling in the second round, Gael Monfils in the third round and compatriot Nicolas Almagro in the fourth round at the 2013 French Open before failing to make it 4 in a row against another compatriot David Ferrer, who won in straight sets.

The veteran Spaniard suffered his fifth and most recent 5th set defeat in the second round at the 2015 French Open when he went down to young Croatian Borna Coric.

#1 Kei Nishikori (23-6, 79.3%)

Kei Nishikori
Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori (132-46, 74.2%) possesses the best win-loss record in a deciding set (3rd or 5th) by any player in the Open Era. When best of 3 set matches are taken out of the equation, Nishikori's (23-6) fifth-set record is the sixth-best in the Open Era and the best by any active player.

The 30-year-old Japanese player has won 8 consecutive fifth-set matches - 5 in 2019 (twice at the French Open, thrice at the Australian Open), 2 in 2018 (once each at the French Open and US Open), and 1 in 2017 (French Open). He endured his sixth and latest 5th-set defeat to eventual champion Roger Federer in the fourth round of the 2017 Australian Open.

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