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Stosur sneaks through late-night epic


 

Originally published on: 06/09/10 10:17

Sam Stosur became the first Australian woman in 24 years to make the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows, defeating Elena Dementieva in the latest-finishing women’s match in the tournament’s history.

“It’s good to make history, I guess,” was Stosur’s tired analysis after defeating the 2008 finalist in a see-saw three-set epic that finished at 1:37am.

Fifteen breaks of serve were traded in a match that saw athleticism, determination and weakness in equal measure. Incredibly, Stosur failed even to hold a single service game in the second set, but clawed her way back from a 5-3 deficit in the third, saving four match points before eventually prevailing 6-3 2-6 7-6(2) under the lights in Arthur Ashe stadium.

“When everyone stays out here and cheers and supports us like that, it couldn’t be any better”, said the French Open finalist, who had lost four of their previous five meetings to Dementieva, only ever beating the Russian on clay.

“I think we both played a great match. Went for it and gave it our best. To have a match like that here is just fantastic.”

Kim Clijsters had a far more straightforward time of it earlier on Sunday afternoon, abruptly ending Ana Ivanovic’s recent return to form with a 6-2 6-1 win.

The victory was the defending champions 18th consecutive match win in New York, having won the 2005 tournament on her last outing before her retirement. Clijsters – who also reached the US Open final in 2003, losing to compatriot Justine Henin – admitted to feeling at home at the New York slam.

“Ever since I was 15, 16, I have always played really good matches in America. I’m married to an American,” she grinned.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing here at the US Open. Just to have the comfort on the surface, I’ve always enjoyed playing on hardcourts, so it’s a good surface for me to just move the way that I want to move.”

The Belgian proved the more consistent against Ivanovic, and while both former world No.1s struck 16 winners in their encounter, Clijsters kept the unforced error count down to 16, while Ivanovic threw in 28.

“Today I was a little bit slow,” admitted the Serb. “I think nerves crept in. I just felt like I was on the big stage again. I didn’t have that feeling for a long time.”

Even so, given that she confesses to losing her way a little bit after her 2008 French Open win – dropping outside the top 50 earlier this year – Ivanovic was pleased to match her fourth round best performance in New York.

“Today was disappointing,” said the current world No.40, “but overall, I’m just very happy about where my game’s heading and the way I’ve been working and practising.”

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