NEW YORK, Aug 29 (Reuters) - It was a tale of three sets that played out like three distinct matches, and in the end it was Italian Sara Errani roaring in triumph at the U.S. Open on Friday moments after shaking from excitement.
Errani beat seven-times grand slam singles winner Venus Williams 6-0 0-6 7-6, claiming her first career singles win against the American with a thrilling 7-5 decision in the climactic tiebreaker that had Arthur Ashe Stadium rocking.
The 27-year-old Errani, the 13th seed, said the finish that catapulted her into the round of 16 of the season’s last grand slam provided moments she would never forget.
“I was very nervous. In the 5-4 (point) to go 5-all in the tiebreak I heard the crowd,” Errani said about an eruption of sound after 19th seed Williams pulverized a backhand winner off a drop shot to finish a run of three points after trailing 5-2.
”Never hear the crowd like that strong. I was shaking for the crowd. Was unbelievable good. I think I will remember forever that moment.
“The crowd was amazing. Even if it was not for me, it was for her. But to hear that scream of all the people, I think I will remember always.”
Errani will also remember the next two points.
Tied 5-5, the diminutive Italian traded shots with twice U.S. winner Williams that had both in full flight, hitting volleys, drop shots and angles that ended with a backhand volley into the open court that an exhausted Venus could only gaze on.
That exchange brought the combatants a standing ovation and took Errani, winner of five grand slam doubles titles and a runner-up in singles at the 2012 French Open, to match point.
Errani quickly cashed in with a forehand cross court winner and made her own noise with a fist-shaking, center court roar.
“These matches can change with nothing, with one point. At 5-all in the tiebreak I made that volley. Unbelievable. If I don’t do that, maybe I lose,” she said before offering praise for Williams.
“I think she’s playing unbelievable. I really don’t know how I won today.”
Editing by Gene Cherry