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Dent wins five-set thriller and high-fives from crowd.

Byline: Reuters

NEW YORK: Taylor Dent, playing his first U.S. Open in four years after two back surgeries, won a five-set thriller over Ivan Navarro of Spain and high-fives from the crowd at the National Tennis Center on Friday.

The 28-year-old Dent, son of former Australian player Phil Dent and U.S. player, the former Betty-Ann Grubb, cashed in his fourth match point to win a fifth-set tiebreaker 11-9 for a 6-4 5-7 6-7 7-5 7-6 win that put him into the third round.

Fans milling about in the Tennis Center plaza gathered around a huge TV screen to watch the drama unfold on the grandstand court and cheered him on from outside the court.

When Dent ended the four-hour, 12-minute marathon, with a backhand service return winner down the line, cheers erupted across the grounds and he jogged around the court slapping the hands of roaring fans leaning over the fences.

The 195th-ranked Dent then grabbed the microphone from the umpire s chair and thanked the fans.Eoe1/4A[yen] You guys were unbelievable," he told the crowd.

The unlikely victory over the 27-year-old, 119th-ranked Navarro, lifted Dent to a third-round meeting with second seed Andy Murray of Britain.

"The crowd just never stopped," Dent told reporters. "They never stopped kind of being my third leg out on the court. They were just with me the whole time. When I started to turn it around, I mean, the emotions just boil over here.

"The U.S. Open is such a unique experience for a tennis player. It s really unbelievable that I have the privilege to experience it."

Dent said he was not sure how good a match he could give the world number two ranked Scotsman but he was determined to do his best.

"My execution isn t at the level that I would like to go into a match playing Andy Murray," he said. "So I m going to make up for that with just pure grit and toughness up there."

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2009

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Sep 5, 2009
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