Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Schiavone shows final set tiebreaks are for wimps


TENNIS-OPEN/Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova rescued the
women’s singles at the Australian Open from anonymity on Sunday
when they contested a four hour 44 minute epic that contrasted sharply with some of the dross served up by their rivals.

The third set alone lasted three hours as Italian Schiavone, a breath of fresh air for women’s tennis at the ripe old age of 30, edged a fourth round thriller 4-6 6-1 16-14.

It was a match of extremes that will surely have no equal at this year’s championships, demonstrating the compelling, edge-of-seat drama often served up at grand slams employing the “play til you drop” deciding set format.

While television schedulers may hate it, it has to be hoped that organisers in Melbourne, Roland Garros and Wimbledon never bow to the demand for “sudden death” finishes seen at most events, including the U.S. Open.