Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone played out an epic 3 hour and 49 minute second round cracker at the Roland Garros on Thursday, with the latter Italian taking it 6-7(13-11) 7-5 10-8.
It was the third-longest women’s singles match at Roland Garros in the Open Era, after Virginie Buisson first-round win over Noelle Van Lottum in four hours and seven minutes in 1995 (6-7(3), 7-5, 6-2), and Kerry Melville Reid victory over Pam Teeguarden in three hours and 55 minutes in the third round (72, 7-6(7), 4-6, 16-14).
Kuznetsova and Schiavone- champions in Roland Garros in 2009 and 2010- yet holds the record for the longest women’s match at a Grand Slam in the open era, a four-hour-44-minute victory for the latter World number 92 at the Australian Open in 2011.
No. 18 seed Kuznetsova needed an hour and 28 minutes to finish off only the first set, which ended in a marathon tie-breaker.
Kuznetsova led 2-0 in the second set before Schiavone fought back to return on equal footing; a set apiece. The Russian also had early leads of 2-0 and 4-2 in the third set, and served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5, even holding match point in that game.
But Schaivone was never going to give in to her seeded opponent’s pressure, fending off those match points on her route to another memorable win.
“I don’t know how much of it is magic, or how much of it is working and just keeping going, and believing in something that looks so far away but it’s so close,” Schiavone said.
“I feel like every match for me is great history now. Doesn’t matter where I am. Doesn’t matter the score. Everything is a bonus for me now. I’m just living like this, that’s all. I’m here in the third round, and I’ll try to keep going.”
The 35-year-old will face No.100-ranked Andreea Mitu, who came from a set and a break down to beat No.12-seeded WTA Rising Star Karolina Pliskova, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
Top seed Serena Williams came back from losing the opening set against Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam to sealing a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 win an secure a projected third round meeting with Victoria Azarenka.
“I’m probably more frustrated than relieved, but I know I’m capable of playing great tennis – just haven’t seen it yet,” Williams said. “But I don’t really want to reflect too much on it. One thing Venus always tells me: a win is a win, and as long as you live to survive the next day, you can always improve.
“I know my level is literally a hundred times better than I played today, so I take more solace in the fact I can play better, as opposed to the fact that’s the best I could play. Then I would be in trouble.”
Azarenka, however, made a walk of her second round clash with Lucie Hradecka with a 6-2 6-3 victory.
Williams leads Azarenka in their head-to-head series, 15-3, and has won all three of their clay court meetings.
There won’t be too many surprises for either of us. We always have tough matches,” Azarenka said.
“Facing somebody who’s No.1 in the world is never easy, but I just want to focus on my game, on my energy, and try to play the best as possible. There’s no question I have to come up with my A game.”
“Out of all of the top players, for whatever reason, she’s given me some particular troubles,” Williams said of the Belarusian. “She’s great at what she does. She fights hard and never gives up, and she’s really feisty. I think that’s obviously why she’s been able to be a Grand Slam champion, not just on one occasion. Those players aren’t the easiest to play; they also get you excited to play those matches.”
Julia Gorges scored the latest upset of the French Open, ending 5th seed Caroline Wozniacki’s run in Paris in the second round 6-4, 7-6(4).
The German will face Irina Falconi; the No. 88-ranked American who saw off Bulgaria’s Irina Karatantcheva 3-6 6-1 6-2.
American Sloane Stephens continued her impressive run in Paris with a 6-2 6-4 win over British No. 1 Heather Watson.
It was Stephens first ever win over Watson, enough to see her through to her fourth straight third-round appearance at the Roland Garros. She meets Tsvetana Pironkova in the next round, after the Bulgarians’ 6-3 7-6 7-2 win over Denissa Allertova on Thursday.
Another American Madison Keys cruised through her second round clash with her fellow rising act Belinda Bencic 6-0 6-3.