Tramlines

Simon and Monfils in 71-shot rally

French duo Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils wowed fans at the Australian Open with an epic 71-shot rally.

The exchange took nearly two minutes and - by our reckoning - is the longest rally in Australian Open history.

Simon eventually won the rally when a stretching Monfils hit his backhand wide, prompting a standing ovation from spectators at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne.

The pair fell just short of the all-time record in a men's Grand Slam match - Bjorn Borg needed 86 shots to win one a point against Guillermo Vilas at the 1978 French Open.

The longest point in a competitive match came in at a US tournament 1984, when a rally between Vicki Nelson and Jean Hepner went a mind-boggling 643 shots and 29 minutes.

Simon did not have to go to those lengths, but will still be feeling stiff in tomorrow morning - he went on to win a marathon five-setter 6-4 6-4 4-6 1-6 8-6 that lasted over four and a half hours and finished well after midnight local time.

His reward: a fourth-round match against Andy Murray, who reached the last 16 in straight sets.

French tennis stars seem to enjoy giving fans their money's worth. Fabrice Santoro beat Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 3-6, 16-14 after six hours 33 minutes at the French Open in 2004.

At the time, it was the longest match in Grand Slam history, though it was later eclipsed by John Isner and Nicolas Mahut's incredible Wimbledon match in 2010.