LONDON (Reuters) - Unseeded Karolina Muchova outlasted third seed and fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova to reach the last eight of Wimbledon in the longest women’s match at the championships so far this year.
Muchova won 4-6 7-5 13-11 in three hours 17 minutes, claiming victory with a netcord as former world number one Pliskova’s wait for a first Grand Slam title continued.
In her first Grand Slam quarter-final world number 68 Muchova will face eighth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina after she eased past Croatia’s Petra Martic.
Had Pliskova not dropped serve in the final game of a high-quality duel, Wimbledon would have witnessed its first final set tiebreak at 12-12 — the new rule brought in after last year’s tournament to prevent ‘never-ending’ final sets.
With Australian world number one Ash Barty’s defeat in the earlier fourth-round tie on Court 2, Pliskova began the match as the highest seed left in the women’s draw and with a golden chance to reach the quarter-finals here for the first time.
The big-server seemed on course when she took the opener against her 22-year-old compatriot.
But Muchova, making her main draw debut this year, was undaunted and took the match to her more illustrious opponent with some sparkling tennis.
Pliskova squandered a 5-3 lead in the final set and then served for the match again at 11-10 but was broken to love.
The tenacious Muchova did well to hold serve at 11-11 before going 0-40 up on the Pliskova serve thanks to a stunning clean winner off a forehand service return.
Pliskova got back to 30-40 with her opponent slipping over on her second match point but Muchova got lucky at the third attempt as her forehand return clipped the tape and dropped dead.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris