Schiavone wins longest women's match
Italian tennis star Francesca Schiavone made history Sunday at the Australian Open, triumphing in the longest women's match at a major.
Women's top seed Caroline Wozniacki also progressed, and Germany's Andrea Petkovic dumped out 2008 winner Maria Sharapova of Russia in straight sets.
However, all attention was on Melbourne Park's second-biggest court, Hisense Arena, where Schiavone and Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova treated the crowd to an epic 4-hour, 44-minute slugfest, which outstripped the previous record by 25 minutes.
French Open champion Schiavone saved six match points and needed three of her own before volleying the clincher, raising her arms aloft and turning her thoughts to a quarterfinal with Wozniacki.
The final set alone lasted three hours as the 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 marathon eclipsed the longest Grand Slam women's match between Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Regina Kulikova in Melbourne last year.
"At one stage I was like, 'What's the score? Who's serving?' I was like, 'What's going on here anyway?' " Kuznetsova said. "I had no clue sometimes. It was so hard to count. I was like, 'Who is up? She? Me?' "
Denmark's Wozniacki reached the quarterfinals for the first time when she cruised past unseeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-4, maintaining her hopes of a maiden Grand Slam win.
China's Li Na beat Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday to reach her second successive quarterfinal at Melbourne Park and ratchet up hopes of claiming her country's first-ever major singles title.
Li will next face Petkovic, who shocked tennis glamour girl Sharapova 6-2, 6-3 and afterward celebrated at the net with her distinctive "Petkodance" jig.