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Pliskova fights off match point, wins

NEW YORK (AP) – Karolina Pliskova can still win the US Open and keep her No. 1 ranking, thanks to a big comeback Saturday.

Pliskova fought off a match point in the second set and rallied to beat No. 27 Zhang Shuai of China 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round.

Karolina Pliskova (AP Photo/Jason Decrow)

Karolina Pliskova (AP Photo/Jason Decrow)

The runner-up last year needs to at least return to the final for a chance to remain atop the rankings when the year’s final major tournament is over, and it appeared for a while that the Czech wouldn’t get close.

But she stayed alive while trailing 4-5 in the second set, then pulled out the third after receiving treatment from a trainer on her right forearm between sets.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza and No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina are the other women who can still get to No. 1. Svitolina was in action later Saturday against American Shelby Rogers, who won the longest women’s match in US Open history on Thursday when she beat No. 25 Daria Gavrilova in 3 hours, 33 minutes.

Pliskova, who fell to Angelique Kerber in the 2016 final, would need to win the tournament if Muguruza reaches the semifinals and loses. If Muguruza advances to the final, Pliskova would be eliminated from contention for the WTA’s top ranking.

Upsets have scrambled one half of the US Open men’s bracket, but everything is mostly as expected on the other side.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were trying to keep it that way Saturday.

The two favorites are back in action with third-round matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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