Under-arm serve stuns crowd in French Open epic

A young American man trying an under-arm serve while cramping during a five-setter at the French Open.

Seen that before?

Except, unlike for 1989 champion Michael Chang, the unusual strategy didn't help result in a victory for Jared Donaldson against Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday.

The fourth-seeded Dimitrov came back to beat the 21-year-old 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 4-6 6-4 10-8 in a second-round marathon that lasted four hours, 19 minutes on Court 18 at Roland Garros.

When it ended, Dimitrov leaned forward while raising each knee to give it a kiss - perhaps thanking his legs for carrying him to the win while Donaldson's gave way.

Donaldson, who is ranked 57th, was actually two points from winning when he led 6-5 in the fifth and got to love-30 on Dimitrov's serve. But Dimitrov took the next four points to hold for 6-all.

Donaldson's under-arm serve took everyone including Dimitrov off guard. Pic: Getty

Dimitrov broke to lead 8-7 and served for the victory, but Donaldson broke right back.

In the next game, though, Donaldson could barely stand, let alone move well.

He double-faulted. Then he tried an under-arm serve - not his first of the match, either - and lost the point.

Dimitrov hit a winner to break for a 9-8 edge, Donaldson slowly limped to the sideline for the changeover, and soon enough, it was over.

Chang famously used an under-arm service motion while cramping during a fourth-round win against Ivan Lendl on the way to the French Open title 29 years ago.