MELBOURNE, Jan. 23 (UPI) — Francesca Schiavone defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova Sunday in one of the longest women’s match in the Open Era in earning an Australian Open quarterfinals spot.
Schiavone, seeded sixth, used a break in the 29th game of the third set for a 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 triumph over the 23rd-seeded Kuznetsova.
The third set, which featured nine service breaks and Schiavone staving off six match points, lasted three hours. The entire match took a Grand Slam record 4 hours, 44 minutes.
Kuznetsova had three match-point opportunities at 8-7 of the third set but Schiavone ran off five straight points to extend the match. Schiavone later jumped up 0-40 and appeared to have earned a service break but she touched the net, giving Kuznetsova a chance and the Russian responded by taking the game.
Schiavone fought off three more break points in the next game but got her eighth break of the match in the 29th game and held the serve for the win.
She moves into the quarterfinals against world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki who topped Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-4 in her fourth-round match. Wozniacki was broken in her first service game but won the final four games of the set. A ninth-game break by Wozniacki in the second set allowed her to serve out the match.
Wozniacki and Schiavone have split their four previous meetings, with Wozniacki winning the last two. Schiavone’s second win in the series came in last year’s French Open, which she went on to win.
The other quarterfinal match in the top half of the women’s draw has No. 8-seeded Li Na going against 30th-seeded Andrea Petkovic, a first-time meeting between the two.
Li was a 6-3, 6-3 winner Sunday over No. 8-seeded Victoria Azarenka by taking five of six break-point chances. Petkovic ousted 14th-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-3 with just nine unforced errors. Sharapova had 30 unforced errors.