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Page last updated at 10:23 GMT, Sunday, 23 January 2011

Schiavone wins record women's tie against Kuznetsova

Australian Open, Melbourne
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 17-30 January
Coverage: Watch on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website (UK only) & Eurosport; listen on BBC 5 live sports extra and online; text commentary online; full details

Francesca Schiavone (left) beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in their marathon match
Schiavone (left) just had the edge in a marathon battle

Francesca Schiavone beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the last 16 of the Australian Open after the longest women's match in Grand Slam history.

The Italian emerged a 6-4 1-6 16-14 winner after a marathon 4hr 44min tussle in Melbourne.

The pair beat the previous record of a 4hr 19min encounter between Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Regina Kulikova in the same tournament last year.

French Open champion Schiavone saved six match points on the way to victory.

In a match which swung both ways at the Hisense Arena, the final set alone between the 30-year-old and Kuznetsova lasted three hours.


The key moment came at 14-14 in the final set when Schiavone, who had a lengthy medical time-out at 11-10, pulled off a superb volley against her Russian opponent to earn the decisive break.

Schiavone went 0-30 down as she then served for the match for a third time but held her nerve to win with a forehand volley.

She will now meet top seed Caroline Wozniacki, who has has spent just 5hrs and 31mins on court in total in her four matches, in the quarter-finals.

"It is a fantastic moment for me," said sixth seed Schiavone. "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."

The 30-year-old Italian added she was almost exhausted but, "at the end, you have something more, always."

"When you're in a situation like this, every point is like a match point," said Schiavone.

"You have to keep going. You know that physically you're tired. Mentally just keep going."

Kuznetsova said the match was so long she was forgetting the score or who should serve.

Schiavone said it wasn't quite that bad for her, "but I was watching the clock, and I say - 'Bravo, Francesca, you are tough'!"

The Grand Slam record for a men's match is 11 hours, 5 minutes, an epic battle between John Isner and French opponent Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon last year.

That match was played over three days, with the American eventually winning 70-68 in the fifth set. It was the longest tennis match in history measured by games and elapsed time.

The Australian Open record for the longest men's match was set in 2009, a five-setter between Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco that Nadal won in 5 hours, 14 minutes.

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Men's singles draw
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Women's singles draw
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