Stosur downs Dementieva in late show thriller

Mon Sep 6, 2010 3:11am EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Samantha Stosur saved four match points in a thrilling third set as she fought back to beat Russian Elena Dementieva 6-3 2-6 7-6 and reach the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open in the early hours of Monday morning.

The fifth-seeded Australian won the climactic tiebreaker 7-2 to end the titanic, two-hour 38-minute encounter at 1:35 a.m. (0535 GMT) in the latest-ending women's match ever staged at the U.S. Open.

"That's definitely one of the most exciting matches I've ever played," Stosur told reporters. "The atmosphere out there was just awesome. I think we both played a great match."

The third set produced the best tennis of the women's tournament so far, with French Open finalist Stosur saving one match point when 12th seed Dementieva served at 5-3 and three more on her own serve in the next game.

The see-saw struggle saw both players raise their games in the final set, ripping groundstrokes with abandon and going for the lines.

In the end it was Stosur who held her nerve best, drawing errors from the usually steady Russian and clinching the decider on two forehand errors from the Olympic champion, who was runner-up at the U.S. Open in 2004.

The women's match ended the night program on center court, following a men's third-round match won by 12th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny over American John Isner in four sets.

"It's tough," Dementieva said. "We were waiting for a long time before we went on the court.   Continued...

<p>Samantha Stosur of Australia celebrates defeating Elena Dementieva of Russia at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 5, 2010. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz</p>