NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova hit out at tournament organizers Monday after she was beaten in the fourth round by unseeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, the lowest ranked player left in the women’s draw.
Kuznetsova, who won the title in 2004 and was runner-up in 2007, attributed her 7-5 7-6 loss to the scheduling, saying it was unfair that she had to meet Cibulkova in Monday’s first center court match after playing the late night feature Saturday night.
“It was very hard for me to play one night the second night match and then in one day to play at 11 o’clock,” Kuznetsova said.
“I just I didn’t feel good today. I was very flat. I was just fighting with myself and was not doing all the time the things I was supposed to do.”
Kuznetsova, seeded 11th, beat her fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko in straight sets on Saturday night but was unable to repeat that performance against Cibulkova, squandering leads in both sets and contributing to her defeat with a whopping 42 unforced errors.
“She let me play aggressive and she just let me play my game and I played well today,” said Cibulkova, who made the semi-finals at the French Open last year but had never made it past the fourth round of any of the other grand slams.
“I was really pumped for this. I knew I could make it and that I could beat everybody in this tournament. I still feel like that.”
Kuznetsova also criticized Australian Open officials after she won a late night match in Melbourne this year and is just the latest in a long of line of players to question the wisdom of scheduling matches so late.
The issue reached farcical proportions two years ago when a match at the Australian Open between Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis did not finish until 4:34 am, prompting complaints from the men that they were being unfairly treated that always had to play last.
Organizers of the U.S. and Australian Opens normally schedule two matches each night but no-one can agree on who should play the second match after complaints from both sexes.
Martina Navratilova, commentating on U.S. television, said it was unfair that women should play last because the men’s matches invariably go much longer than women‘s, meaning the starting times are pushed back.
Monday, Australia’s Samantha Stosur and Russia’s Elena Dementieva were scheduled to play the last match at Arthur Ashe.
They did not get on court until almost 11pm then slugged it out until 1.35am, the latest finish for any women’s match at Flushing Meadows.
“That’s unfortunately the way it is,” Stosur said after winning 6-3 2-6 7-6. “Someone is going to come off second best getting that short straw with the second night match.”
Editing by Julian Linden