x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Stosur battles through record tiebreaker with Kirilenko

Russian loses in the fourth round of the US Open to Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 despite winning a record longest tiebreaker in the second set.

Maria Kirilenko wipes her face between points in her fourth round defeat to Sam Stosur at the US Open.
Maria Kirilenko wipes her face between points in her fourth round defeat to Sam Stosur at the US Open.

NEW YORK // John McEnroe could relate to Maria Kirilenko, who won "The Battle of 1715" but eventually lost the match.

In what the WTA said is the longest tiebreaker between women at a grand slam tournament, Kirilenko outlasted Sam Stosur 17-15 in the second set of their fourth-round match at the US Open last night.

Stosur wound up reaching the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 victory.

Their tiebreaker fell two points short of the so-called "Battle of 1816," McEnroe's memorable 18-16 fourth-set tiebreaker victory against Bjorn Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon final — a match that Borg eventually won in the fifth set.

When Stosur put a forehand in the net, allowing Kirilenko to force a third set, McEnroe, who was on hand last night to call their match for Television, said, "There, in a nutshell, is why this is such a great sport."

That was Kirilenko's sixth set point. Stosur wasted five match points.

The tiebreaker was filled with drama, including three points that ended with line calls in favour of Stosur, only to be reversed when Kirilenko challenged them.

At 14-14, the No 9 seed Stosur double-faulted to set up No 25 Kirilenko's fifth set point. But Kirilenko dumped a forehand into the net to make it 15-15, then flipped her racket end-over-end high in the air.

On the next point, Stosur put a backhand into the net for 16-15. And that's where the tiebreaker that would not end did end, with a 13-shot exchange capped by Stosur's errant forehand.

The second set alone lasted 1 hour, 24 minutes, and the full match went 2:37 - which actually might have seemed rather easy-going to Stosur, whose third-round match went 3:16, breaking the women's record for most time on court at the US Open.

The longest tiebreaker in a US Open men's match was 20-18, won by Goran Ivanisevic against Daniel Nestor in the third set of a 1993.

According to the WTA, the previous grand slam tiebreaker on record for women went to 16-14, in a 1999 French Open first-round match between Stephanie Foretz and Nathalie Dechy.

The tiebreaker system was adopted in 1970.

The No 2 seed Vera Zvonareva awaits Stosur after the Russian moved into the quarter-finals for the second consecutive year, beating the No 22 seed Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 6-3.

Flavia Pennetta of Italy caused an upset by beating the Chinese No 13 seed Peng Shuai 6-4, 7-6 while the German Angelique Kerber beat the Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-4, 6-3.

Zvonareva was the runner-up at the US Open and Wimbledon in 2010 and is still in search of her first major title.

The Russian saved 6 of 7 break points against Lisicki, who was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon this year.

Lisicki served much harder than Zvonareva, but not particularly accurately. Lisicki put only 40 per-cent of her first serves in, double-faulted five times and wound up with only one ace.

In the men's draw, the British No 4 seed Andy Murray, took his career record against the Spanish left-hander Feliciano Lopez to six wins in six meetings thanks to an impressive 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Murray, who had to come back from two sets down to defeat the Dutchman Robin Haase in the second round, did not concede a point on his own serve in a brutal first set which set the tone for the one-sided tie.

He now faces the American wild card Donald Young, the former world junior No 1, who reached the fourth round at a grand slam for the first time with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 win over Argentine 24th seed Juan Ignacio Chela.

Murray lost to Young in their only previous meeting at Indian Wells this year, and he is desperate to put the record straight.

"I was in a bad place then, it was a tough part of the year," said Murray. "It's not that I want revenge on Donald, it's more about revenge on the situation and to make sure I can move on from that."

Argentine 18th seed Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 champion, who missed last year's title defence because of a serious wrist injury, saw his hopes dashed by Gilles Simon in a four-hour marathon.

The French 12th seed booked his place in the last 16 for the first time with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 win over del Potro who committed 72 unforced errors and squandered three set points in the 10th game of the fourth set.

Simon will face 28th seed John Isner who defeated fellow American Alex Bogomolov 7-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Spanish No 5 David Ferrer, a semi-finalist in 2007, beat the German 26th seed Florian Mayer 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 and next tackles the 2003 winner Andy Roddick.

The American 21st seed breezed past the French wild card Julien Benneteau 6-1, 6-4, 7-6.