*Safina sent packing in third round
*Czech teen Kvitova moves on to face Wickmayer
(updates with quotes)
By Steve Ginsburg
NEW YORK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - 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 U.S. Open on Saturday.
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.
“Disappointing. Very disappointing,” Safina said. “I came back in the second set, winning six games in a row, playing solid, good.
“Third set... (I had) everything in my hands. Definitely she played some good points. But I just feel I let it go away.”
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.
“Three match points, and I didn’t do anything on them,” a dejected Safina said.
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 12:47 a.m. 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 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.
Safina said she planned to be aggressive but when the match started, she backed off and let Kvitova dictate the pace.
“I go on the court and I really want to do one thing,” Safina said. “I step on the court and I do completely the opposite thing.”
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