Sun Jan 23 12:10pm EST
The fourth-round match between defending French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznestova went on for a record-breaking four hours and 44 minutes, the longest in history for women at a Grand Slam.
Though more than six hours short of Isner-Mahut, the Schiavaone-Kuznetsova duel was equally, if not more, impressive. It featured numerous breaks of serves, exhausting rallies and countless match points saved. The players took chances in going for crosscourt winners and coming to net on both serve-and-volleys and chip-and-charges. That Wimbledon marathon was impressive solely because of its length. This marathon was impressive for its quality too.
Among the stats:
• The match lasted four hours, 44 minutes, beating the previous long Grand Slam match by 25 minutes. (Set last year at the Australian Open by Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova and Regina Kulikova.)
• The third set was 180 minutes long. No other match on Sunday was as long and only
• Schiavone saved six match points in the deciding set, including three while serving at 7-8, 0-40. She won the match on her third match point, which all came after the Italian twice was broken while trying to serve out the match.
• Though only three sets, the women were just 30 minutes shy of breaking the men's record for longest Australian Open match. That mark of five hours, 14 minutes was set by Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco in 2009.
• The 48 games played by the women were one less than Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Chanda Rubin played in 1996, impressive considering the middle set of Schiavone-Kuznetsova was a 6-1 runaway.
• There were 50 break-point chances in the match, compared to 17 in Isner-Mahut.
The match went on so long that Kuznestova admitted afterward to being confused at times:
"At one stage I was like, what's the score? Who's serving? I was like, what's going on here anyway? I had no clue sometimes. It was so hard to count. I was like, who is up? She? Me?"
For Schiavone, it was one of the greatest achievement in her career. "It was for me personally really fantastic," she said later. "I hope one day to show this DVD to my son. It is one of the most emotional moments of my life. I just told myself to keep going, do it with the heart and go for it."
A DVD? It's going to have to be a two-disc set.