The Night Session: Safina Falls (Finally), Blake Out

In case today’s drama wasn’t enough, the night session–which spilled over into Sunday morning–featured one of the tournament’s biggest upsets so far, and continued the decimation of the top seeds of the women’s draw. Dinara Safina, the number one player in the world, is out of the U.S. Open. She got through her first two matches by the skin of her teeth, and just couldn’t dig herself out of yet another hole. She failed to convert on three match points at 6-5 in the third set and ended up losing in the tiebreaker to Petra Kvitova, ranked 72nd in the world, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5). Kvitova had a lot more unforced errors, but a lot more winners, too, and was generally more aggressive and varied in her game. Safina fought for every point, which she prides herself on, but was eventually ground down. Kvitova beat Venus Williams in Memphis last year, but this is by far the biggest win of her career.

Since the Isner-Roddick match went so late, the USTA made the decision to have the women and men play at the same time, in Armstrong and Ashe respectively. (Both matches lasted just about two and a half hours and ended nearly simultaneously.) So Safina had a smallish crowd of diehards from the day session to watch her disappointing loss. But James Blake had a rowdy, supportive Saturday night audience in Ashe, and he still fell to Tommy Robredo in straight sets, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-4, matching his third-round exit last year. Robredo will face Roger Federer in the fourth round.