Max Purcell’s underarm misery and Daria Saville loss compound Australia’s French Open woes

Australia’s tale of Roland Garros woe has plumbed new depths with Max Purcell missing out on six match points before finally losing his first-round match in bewildering fashion following a stirring comeback.

But the shattered Purcell, who defended how he delivered an underarm serve on one of his failed match points against qualifier Henri Squire, was adamant after his five-set reverse that he had “no regrets”, even while reflecting on what a “s***” sport tennis can be.

The Sydneysider’s agonising exit to the German grand slam newcomer on Monday, local time, left the green-and-gold contingent at 0-6 — five defeats and an injury withdrawal — after two days with the women’s challenge already over following Daria Saville’s earlier 6-3 6-4 loss to Jasmine Paolini.

It will be the first time since 1997 there’ll be no Australian woman in the second round of the Paris slam following Ajla Tomljanovic’s exit on Sunday.

Yet Purcell looked as if he would finally break the men’s drought when rallying from two sets down against the big-hitting Squire, and twice served for the match on the verge of his first five-set win.

He’d be forgiven if what happened next haunted him for the rest of his tennis days.

Max Purcell of Australia plays a backhand against Henri Squire of Germany

Max Purcell defended delivering an underarm serve on one of his failed match points against qualifier Henri Squire.(Getty Images: Clive Mason)

He failed to convert four match points when serving at 5-4 but then, having broken Squire again to serve at 6-5, earned a fifth match point, only to take the fateful decision to serve underarm.

“I do it a lot in practice, it’s worth going for it — absolutely,” Purcell said.

“No regrets — hindsight’s a s*** thing, isn’t it? No just take the positives, learn from them — I hate living in the past.”

Squire caught on to the underarm ruse quickly and won the point, leaving the 25-year-old Purcell’s head understandably scrambled as he then served a double fault and screwed a backhand wide, taking the contest into a super tiebreaker 

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