Australia’s Sam Stosur progressed to her second consecutive US Open quarter-final with a thrilling win over Maria Kirilenko that included the longest ever tie-break seen at a Grand Slam.
Stosur took the first set 6-2 before Kirilenko recovered and took the second into a tie-break. Neither player would give an inch, stretching the set to an hour and 24 minutes in length, and Kirilenko finally took it 17-15 to bring a roar from the crowd and put the two stars in the record books.
But rather than collapse, Stosur fought back again and was too strong for the 24-year-old Russian, eventually triumphing 6-2, 6-7(15), 6-3.
The number nine seed will now face the number two seed Vera Zvonareva in the quarters after the Russian triumphed in straight set over German Wimbledon quarter-finalist Sabine Lisicki.
“Obviously I knew it was pretty long,” Stosur said of the mammoth tie-break. “I lost track of the score, I didn’t know at one point if I should be serving or receiving. With all the [line-calling] challenges it was super exciting. The crowd was into it. I couldn’t hear myself think.”
Italy’s Flavia Pennetta joined Stosur in the next round as she entered her third US Open quarter-final with a win over 13th seed Shuai Peng of China.
Pennetta followed up her impressive win over Maria Sharapova in the previous round with a nervous encounter against the rising star Shuai.
The 29-year-old appeared to vomit at the back of the court when serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set and was consequently broken.
But despite trailing 0-5 and 2-6 in the tie-break, she managed to prevent Shuai from forcing a deciding set and secured a 6-4, 7-6(6) win.
She will next meet Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who sealed her progression with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Romania’s Monica Niculescu.
In the men’s draw, world number four Andy Murray breezed in to the last 16 with a straightforward 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory over the 25th seed Feliciano Lopez.
The 24-year-old dominated in this night session encounter and he has set himself up a revenge encounter with American youngster Donald Young who shocked him earlier this year at Indian Wells.
“I played some good tennis towards the end of the first match, the second match was poor – I didn’t think it was great but I found a way to get through – and tonight was good,” said Murray, assessing his US Open journey so far. “But so much can change in a couple of days and you just need to make sure you stay focused on the next match.”
Rafael Nadal is also safely through despite collapsing in his post-match interview with cramp after the Spaniard defeated Argentina’s David Nalbandian in an enticing match on Arthur Ashe Court.
The first set lasted over an hour before Nadal closed the tie-break out at 7-5, cruised through the second and was then made to work hard in the third for a 7-6(5), 6-1, 7-5 win.
Gilles Simon shocked the 2009 winner Juan Martin del Potro with a four-set victory, including two tie-breaks, to halt another Argentinean’s progress, while John Isner, Andy Roddick and Young kept the New York crowd happy with wins for the American stars.