Glushko suffers heartbreak in dramatic defeat

Israeli fails to convert four match points against Hantuchova for a place in last 16.

Julia Glushko tennis 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Julia Glushko tennis 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
Julia Glushko squandered on Saturday what may well have been the chance of a lifetime.
The 23-year-old Israeli found herself within a single point of advancing to the last 16 of the US Open on four occasions during her third round match against Daniela Hantuchova.
However, she failed to convert all four of her match points and dropped to a heartbreaking 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4) defeat to the Slovak.
Glushko, ranked No. 128 in the world, had never even won a Grand Slam main draw match until last week and is still guaranteed to break into the world’s top 100 for the first time in her career after reaching the third round in New York.
However, that will be of little consolation considering the opportunity she missed on Saturday.
Glushko already served for the match in the 10th game of the second set, but she was broken and Hantuchova (48) reeled off six straight games to tie up the encounter and take a 3-0 lead in the decisive set.
Nevertheless, the Israeli fought back to tie the score at 3-3 and reached four match points on the Slovak’s serve in the 10th game of the third set.
However, she couldn’t make any of them count and saw her US Open dream come to an end after losing in the crucial tiebreak.
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich were knocked out in the second round of the doubles tournament on Saturday, losing 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 to Yen-Hsun Lu and Divij Sharan. Ram and Erlich have still not progressed past the second round of a Grand Slam tournament together since Wimbledon in 2008.
Victoria Azarenka dropped her first set of the tournament on Saturday but recovered to book her place in the last 16 after two former Grand Slam champions were sent packing.
A finalist last year and one of the favorites to win the title this season, a feisty Azarenka overcame a shaky start to beat Alize Cornet of France 6-7(2), 6-3, 6- 2 after Petra Kvitova and Svetlana Kuznetsova crashed out.
Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion and seventh seed at Flushing Meadows, fell 6-3, 6-0 to American wildcard Alison Riske in their third round match.
Then Kuznetsova, a former US Open and French Open champion, was beaten 7-5, 6-1 by Italy’s Flavia Pennetta as the upsets continued.
As the world No. 2 and reigning Australian Open champion, Azarenka is expected to go deep into the tournament but the Belarussian was given a tough workout from Cornet.
The US Open is the only grand slam where Kvitova has failed to at least make the quarterfinals and the Czech said she was unable to play near her best on Saturday after contracting a virus.
Riske burst into tears after her win. The 23-year-old, who still travels with a security blanket that was given to her on the day she was born, has had a long road to her first fourth round appearance at a grand slam.
She first tried to qualify for the US Open in 2007 and had never won a main draw match until this year. Now she is through to the last 16, and facing a showdown with Hantuchova.
Spain’s David Ferrer became the first man to reach the round of 16 when he defeated Kazakhstan qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin.
Reuters contributed to this report.