In what the WTA said is the longest tiebreaker between women at a Grand Slam tournament, Kirilenko outlasted Sam Stosur 17-15 in the second set of their fourth-round match at the U.S. Open on Sunday night. Stosur wound up reaching the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-7 (15), 6-3 victory.
Their tiebreaker fell two points short of the so-called “Battle of 1816,” McEnroe’s memorable 18-16 fourth-set tiebreaker victory against Bjorn Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon final _ a match that Borg eventually won in the fifth set.
When Stosur put a forehand in the net, allowing Kirilenko to force a third set, McEnroe, who was on hand Sunday night to call their match for TV, said, “There, in a nutshell, is why this is such a great sport.”
At 14-all, the No. 9-seeded Stosur double-faulted to set up No. 25 Kirilenko’s fifth set point. But Kirilenko dumped a forehand into the net to make it 15-all, then flipped her racket end-over-end high in the air.
The second set alone lasted 1 hour, 24 minutes, and the full match went 2:37 _ which actually might have seemed rather easygoing to Stosur, whose third-round match went 3:16, breaking the women’s record for most time on court at the U.S. Open.
The longest tiebreaker in a U.S. Open men’s match was 20-18, won by Goran Ivanisevic against Daniel Nestor in the third set of a 1993.
According to the WTA, the longest previous Grand Slam tiebreaker on record for women went to 16-14, in a 1999 French Open first-round match between Stephanie Foretz and Nathalie Dechy.
The tiebreaker system was adopted in 1970.