In what was by far the best match of the Open thus far, Sergiy Stakhovsky defeated 18-year-old American Ryan Harrison in five sets, winning the tie-breaker 8-6.
News traveled about the close matchup between Harrison and Stakhovsky, and fans poured in after a rain delay in the fourth set that Stakhovsky eventually won to send the match to a fifth set.
Neither player was particularly sharp at any point today, but bother were gassed by the tiebreaker. The most energy came from an electrified crowd that cheered loudly on every point won by Harrison, an emerging American star.
Stakhovsky used a serve-and-volley attack. The crowed clung to every drop shot and help it's collective breath when he trailed backward to chase down and swat back lobs from Stakhovsky.
Down 3-1 in the tiebreaker, Harrison won five consecutive points. Then he let Stakhovsky back in it and they were tied 6-6.
Stakhovsky won the next two points and then gently collapsed backward to the ground, pumping his fists in celebration.
There was a brief and minimal groan from the crowd, but the Grandstand was mostly hushed when Harrison lost the final point. Then came an extended applause for both competitors.
After the match Harrison said he felt out of control to because of Stakhovsky's serve-and-volley attack, particularly in the tiebreaker.
"I didn’t go about it the way I should have," he said. "I went to a big serve at 6 all and I probably shouldn’t have."
Harrison estimated he had only played three or four five-set matches at the ATP level before today. “I just treating every point like it’s my last.”
Although he lost, Harrison was grateful and surprised by the fanfare he received.
"It was a great experience, the whole last week and a half, last two weeks has been incredible for me. I’ve always believed in myself, believed I could compete at this level … I could have easily lost in the second round.
"It was incredibly fun. Playing in front of a crowd like that., the first time I’d ever played at the us open was two days ago. And now, all the support I have, it’s incredible. My rankings 220 in the world right now and I’m hopefully going to get into the top 10 and I feel like one match is not going to get me there, it’s the experience of a lot of matches like this."