x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Francesca Schiavone wins longest match at a tennis major

The Italian beats Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 in four hours 44 minutes to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

An exhausted Francesca Schiavone celebrates the winner against her fourth-round opponent Svetlana Kuznetsova.
An exhausted Francesca Schiavone celebrates the winner against her fourth-round opponent Svetlana Kuznetsova.

MELBOURNE //The French Open champion Francesca Schiavone needed a women's grand slam-record of 4 hours, 44 minutes to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova and advance to the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time in 11 attempts.

The veteran Italian won 6-4, 1-6, 16-14, including a three-hour third set in which she saved six match points.

The longest previous women's match in a grand slam tournament was at Melbourne Park last year, when Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova beat Regina Kulikova 7-6 (5), 6-7 (10), 6-3 in a match lasting 4 hours, 19 minutes.

Schiavone won on her third match point in the 30th game of the final set. She will take on top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals.

Women play best-of-three in the majors and WTA tournaments. Men play best-of-five sets in the majors, so the records there are much longer.

The grand slam record for a men's match is 11 hours, 5 minutes, an epic battle between John Isner and French opponent Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon last year that was played played over three days, with the American eventually winning 70-68 in the fifth set. It was the longest tennis match in history measured by games and elapsed time.

The Australian Open record for the longest men's match was set in 2009, a five-setter between Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco that Nadal won in 5 hours, 14 minutes.

Wozniacki, Schiavone's quarter-final opponent, has apologised after a joke over a leg injury backfired.

Wozniacki wore a small bandage on her leg during her last-16 victory over Anastasija Sevastova at the Australian Open today and said afterwards she had been injured after being attacked by a kangaroo.

Only when the story started to emerge in newspapers and on websites around the world did the world No 1 reveal she actually sustained the bump walking into a treadmill.

"I just wanted to say I'm sorry if I've caused any harm or made your job a little bit more difficult," the Dane said. "But the kangaroo story, I made it up because it sounded better than what actually happened.

"I walked into a treadmill so that wasn't really...you know. That's my blonde, sometimes that happens.

"I'm sorry if I caused an inconvenience, I really didn't mean to. I didn't think you would believe it.

Elshwere, the former champion Maria Sharapova has lost in the fourth-round to Andrea Petkovic. The 30th-seeded Petkovic of Germany was rarely troubled in beating the 2008 Australian Open champion 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday.

Petkovic benefited from an easy third-round - she only needed to play seven points before seven-time major winner Venus Williams retired on Thursday night with an injured hip muscle. She will now take on China's Li Na in the quarter-finals.

On the men's side of the draw Tomas Berdych has his eyes on reaching the final after booking his place into the quarter-finals where he will meet Novak Djokovic, who he beach in the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year.

"I am a better player now," the Czech player said. "At Wimbledon I was riding a wave and beating guys one by one. This time I have a lot of new experience I have gained and it's definitely different. "Everyone is trying to beat me because I'm one of the top guys and they have nothing to lose. I need to cope with this situation and so far I've done great.

Berdych believes he can go one better than finishing runner-up at Wimbledon and upset the hysteria building around a possible Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal final.

"Roger and Rafa are two great stars, not just of these days but they're already part of history," he said. "That's how it is and I like being in this position. "Now I'm into the quarter-finals and I'm the one hunting the top players."