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Czech teenager Kvitova upsets Safina

LITTLE-KNOWN Czech teenager Petra Kvitova shocked world number one Dinara Safina 6-4 2-6 7-6 in a dramatic third-round upset at the US Open yesterday.

Kvitova, 19, won the final-set tiebreaker 7-5 when top seed Safina floated a backhand long to end the two-hour, 34-minute affair on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The loss marked the first time this year that the 23-year-old Safina had failed to reach at least the semi-finals of a grand slam tournament.

Serving at 5-6 in the third set, the 72nd-ranked Kvitova saved three match points to force the tiebreak on a cool night at Flushing Meadows.

Kvitova bagged three straight points in the tiebreaker to take a 5-2 lead. Although Safina trimmed the lead to 6-5, Kvitova won the final point on the Russian's serve to seal the biggest win of her young career.

When the match ended, Kvitova shrieked with delight before walking to the net to face Safina. The match ended at 12:47am local time inside a half-filled stadium.

"It's amazing here," she told the crowd. "I love New York."

Kvitova advances to play 50th-ranked Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium in the last 16.

For Safina, the defeat marked the end of a tumultuous Open in which she was pushed to three sets in each of her previous two matches.

She had 39 unforced errors, nine double faults, and only 12 winners against Kvitova, while the hard-hitting Czech had 59 errors among her 47 winners.


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