The quarter-final match of the $25,000 Changwon event at the Changwon Municipal Tennis Court between Varvara Flink and the 3rd seed Risa Ozaki has produced one of the craziest matches on the WTA Tour in the last couple of years, with Flink prevailing 7-6 6-0 in two hours and 30 minutes. There is nothing unusual in that per se but the real story starts when we find out that the opening set lasted for an impressive one hour and 54 minutes, making it one of the longest sets in the history of the WTA! Flink raced into a 3-0 lead but Ozaki bounced back to level the score and stay neck and neck with her rival until the final stages of the tie break, pushing each other to the limits on the hard court for almost two hours.
They were close to each other from 3-3, with no roller coaster scoreboard or big turnarounds, but the servers were pretty much powerless after counting 25 break points and 10 breaks of serve, five on each side. In the end, there was a 20-point tie break to make the set even longer and Varvara stole it after saving 13 out of 18 break points (the Russian had to play against three break points in every service game) and fending off three set points in the tie break.
There were 117 points in total and 67 belonged to a player who was on the return, making it very difficult to see a hold and especially an easy one. Interestingly, the games were not that huge as the result suggests, with nine being completed without deuces or with just one, and the remaining three on Flink's serve produced the biggest action, with 11 deuces in total.
The sixth game was by far the longest of the set, consisting of seven deuces and eight break points and Ozaki has finally converted that last break chance to earn the break and level the score at 3-3. There were no aces and 11 points were ended with a double fault, 10 from the Russian who hit four in that longest game of the match.
On the other hand, Risa had to go through a nightmare every time she would miss the first serve, standing on 0-14 in those situations, and she could be happy with the fact she only had to play against seven break points. Overall, we saw one very long game and extended but not huge tie break and this all lead us to a clue that the rallies in this set must have been very long and grueling, with no service winners or fast serve&groundstoke combos that could accelerate the scoreboard and the game overall.
The returners were able to tame the rival's initial shot with ease and that is always the most important thing is such huge sets like this one and this is how the result developed in this extraordinary set: