It took 3 hours and 18 minutes, but No.23 seed Jil Teichmann extended her superb clay-court season Friday by reaching the first Grand Slam Round of 16 of her career.
Teichmann pulled off a 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) victory against Victoria Azarenka in what was the longest match at 2022 Roland Garros so far. Azarenka had also contested the previous longest match of this fortnight, when she beat Ana Bogdan in 2 hours and 58 minutes in the first round.
"I knew I was going into a battle," Teichmann said afterward. "One of the best qualities of Vika is being a fighter, as am I. I have been coming up with some great matches on clay, long matches. I knew I will have my chances, I will have to keep calm and do my part."
No.15 seed Azarenka led by a set and a break and also served for the match at 5-4 in the final set, but Teichmann prevailed to claim her 10th win in her past 12 clay-court matches.
Teichmann avenged her loss to Azarenka from earlier this year at the Australian Open, their only previous meeting.
Clay-court craft: Azarenka has veteran experience at Grand Slams, with two major titles to her credit (2012 and 2013 Australian Open). Her 145 match-wins at Grand Slam events is the fourth-most among active players, behind only Serena Williams (365), Venus Williams (271) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (154).
But Teichmann has posted excellent clay-court results over the past few weeks, with a semifinal at WTA 1000 Madrid followed by a run to the quarterfinals at WTA 1000 Rome.
Teichmann added another Top 20 win to her resume with victory over Azarenka. Seven of Teichmann’s 14 Top 20 wins have come in 2022. She has risen to her current career-high ranking of No.24.
Match breakdown: Playing in her first third-round match at a Grand Slam event, Teichmann was more effective behind first serves, winning 65 percent of those points compared to Azarenka's 55 percent.
"I liked the way I was playing, and I knew that if I could remain calm, I would have chances," Teichmann said. "I was feeling that I was controlling the match. I was dictating. The winners, the unforced errors were on my side. So I thought if I can do everything well, then I will manage."
Azarenka came back from 3-1 down to take the one-set lead, then went up a break for 2-1 in the second set. But Teichmann began to regularly lengthen rallies, which worked in her favor as she won five of the last six games in the second set to level the match.
A back-and-forth final set saw Azarenka serve for the match at 5-4, but Teichmann easily broke serve there, and the pair eventually moved into a 10-point tiebreak.
In the tiebreak, Teichmann hit five winners en route to 9-5, and she converted her second match point with her sixth winner of the breaker, the final one off the backhand side.
Stephens ends Parry run
Teichmann will meet another Grand Slam champion, 2017 US Open titlist Sloane Stephens, in the Round of 16. Stephens, who reached the French Open final in 2018, eased past homeland hope Diane Parry 6-2, 6-3 on Friday.
Stephens had to fight back from a set down in each of her first two rounds, but she at last picked up a straight-sets win by ending the run of 19-year-old Parry. French teen Parry had knocked defending champion and World No.2 Barbora Krejcikova out in the first round.
Former World No.3 Stephens has won 31 matches at Roland Garros throughout her career, making it the major where she has racked up the most victories. This marks the American's eighth trip to the Round of 16 in Paris.
Stephens had to fend off a late charge by Parry, when the Frenchwoman fought back from 5-1 to 5-3 in the second set. There, Parry had game point to extend the match even further, but Stephens converted her fourth match point to line up a first meeting with Teichmann.