Sunday, 6 September 2009

TENNIS : Safina dumped out of US Open


Little-known Czech teenager Petra Kvitova shocked world number one Dinara Safina 6-4 2-6 7-6 in a dramatic third-round upset at the US Open.
Kvitova, 19, won the final-set tiebreaker 7-5 when top seed Safina floated a backhand long to end the two-hour, 34-minute affair on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
The loss marked the first time this year that the 23-year-old Safina had failed to reach at least the semi-finals of a grand slam tournament.
Serving at 5-6 in the third set, the 72nd-ranked Kvitova saved three match points to force the tiebreak on a cool night at Flushing Meadows.
Bagged
Kvitova bagged three straight points in the tiebreaker to take a 5-2 lead.
And although Safina trimmed the lead to 6-5, Kvitova won the final point on the Russian's serve to seal the biggest win of her young career.
When the match ended, Kvitova shrieked with delight before walking to the net.
The match ended at 12:47am local time on Sunday inside a half-filled stadium.
Kvitova advances to play 50th-ranked Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium in the last 16.
For Safina, the defeat marked the end of a tumultuous Open in which she was pushed to three sets in each of her previous two matches.
She had 39 unforced errors, nine double faults, and only 12 winners against Kvitova, while the hard-hitting Czech had 59 errors among her 47 winners.
Former winner and 2009 Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick also bowed out on Saturday alongside former women's number one Maria Sharapova, while current champ Roger Federer battled past Lleyton Hewitt.
Overpowered
Federer overpowered the Australian Hewitt 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 at Flushing Meadows to extend his US Open winning streak to 37 matches by reaching the fourth round.
Kvitova gives 'the look' as she downs Safina in New York [AFP]Federer was serving, ahead 4-2 and 40-love in the first set, when he proceeded to spray shots all over Arthur Ashe Court, losing five straight points on the way toward dropping the first set.
He committed 23 unforced errors in the first.
Even when he looked to be cruising to the victory in the closing set, up 5-2 and getting ready to serve out the match, he got broken.
All that did was extend the match a few more minutes, although it did nothing to quash the notion that Federer was not on top of his game on this day.
Few opportunities
"You know how good he can play when he's on and you try to take advantage of those small opportunities when they come,'' Hewitt said.
"You're not going to get a lot, obviously.''
Federer is trying to become the first player to win six straight titles in New York since Bill Tilden in the 1920s.
John Isner and Melanie Oudin were the giantkillers as they sent Roddick and Sharapova spinning out of the tournament.
Big-serving Roddick came face-to-face with a 6ft 9 player he had mentored up the ranks and as a way of thanks Isner boomed in 38 aces to trample the fifth seed 7-6 6-3 3-6 5-7 7-6.
"I'm happy for him. I'm mad that obviously it came at my expense," summed up Roddick who had hopes of going all the way this year following his runner-up finish at Wimbledon.
While world number 55 Isner provided the biggest shock of the men's draw, Oudin followed up her win over world number four Elena Dementieva by thumping another Russian.
Heart-pounding
The 17-year-old Oudin had the honour of ringing the opening bell at the Nasdaq exchange earlier this week and her stock rose even higher on Saturday as she carved out a heart-pounding 3-6 6-4 7-5 third-round win over 29th seed Sharapova.
As some 23,000 fans hollered inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, those who could not cram into centre court watched transfixed on the giant TV screen in the main fountain plaza.
When Oudin sealed the three-hour triumph by belting a forehand winner, spectators inside and outside the arena leapt to their feet to give her a standing ovation.
Oudin simply looked dazed as she dropped her racket before raising her weary arms to acknowledge the cheers.
"I just kept fighting as hard as I could. I can't believe it," the 70th-ranked Oudin gasped in a courtside interview as she tried to blink back tears.
Earlier, world number four Novak Djokovic led a parade of seeds – Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco, Robin Soderling and Radek Stepanek – into the second week of the hardcourt major.
Djokovic rubbed his eyes in disbelief as he was almost pulled apart by a player who had never won a tour match before this week.
American Jessie Witten valiantly battled for almost three-and-a-half hours before succumbing 6-7 6-3 7-6 6-4.

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