Only at the US Open.
A few years ago it was some shoddy and controversial line calls involving a Serena Williams-Jennifer Capriati match which helped lead to the challenge review system we have today. Moments ago in her US Open semifinal against Kim Clijsters, Serena was part of controversy again, this time for getting defaulted for cursing out a lineswoman who had just levied a foot fault against her.
The end result is Kim Clijsters lands into the US Open final defeating Serena 6-4, 7-5 without having won matchpoint. Talk about totally bizarre!
Serving 5-6, 15-30 and down a set Serena was called for a foot fault on her second serve. A disgusted Serena chewed out the lineswoman who made the call. Once Serena finished her tirade the lineswoman reported to the chair umpire, Louise Engzell, of the what Serena had said, which apparently fell under verbal abuse – an F bomb perhaps?
And since Serena already incurred a warning for smashing her racquet at the end of the first set, any subsequent warning by rule would lead to a point penalty.
Unfortunately for Serena the verbal abuse warning she received for tearing into the lineswoman came on match point, meaning she loses, Clijsters wins and if you watched the match – which actually seemed to be getting better as it went on – we all are left feeling a little empty inside.
For me, I am shocked!
“No I didn’t think I would get a point penalty. I didn’t think about it,” said a nonplussed Serena afterward. “Today was a tough day, I didn’t play my best. I felt I had more errors today then all my matches combined.”
Strange stuff and I’m sure this incident will have my reverberations to come. I am stunned to say the least at the ending of this match!
To note, Serena and Venus are scheduled to play Monday in the women’s doubles final so Serena’s not out of the US Open just yet.
In the other semifinal Caroline Wozniacki took care of Belgian surprise Yanina Wickmayer 6-3, 6-3. Wozniacki, who is playing in her first career Slam final and Clijsters, winner of 13 straight US Open matches, will play for the women’s title 9pm Sunday night on ESPN2.
To add in retrospect, based on what happened the chair umpire was just following the rules if Serena had in fact abused the lineswoman. Again, bad luck that it happened on match point but if Serena really said some nasty things then she has to get hit with the warning, which in this case led to a point penalty on match point.
So Serena has only herself to blame for not keeping her composure at the most crucial of moments.
The other question is was it really a foot fault? The CBS angle was inconclusive (to me) and I have to wonder that given the situation if that’s one of those calls you simply let go unless it’s clearly flagrant – similar to football and basketball games where the refs often “let the player’s play” at the end of important games. In this case, however, the refs followed the letter of the law assuming Serena did foot fault and she did curse the lineswoman.
Regardless, this incident will leave quite a stain on the match, the tournament, the sport and on Serena Williams for some time.
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