Smash­ing suc­cess

Sakkari backs Hawk-Eye on clay af­ter Pliskova loses cool with um­pire

Sport360 - - Italian Open - By Reem Abulleil @reemab­ulleil edi­to­

Maria Sakkari be­lieves the con­tro­ver­sial call that took place dur­ing her three-set win over Karolina Pliskova in Rome yes­ter­day is fur­ther proof that Hawk-Eye is nec­es­sary on clay.

Pliskova is fac­ing a sig­nif­i­cant fine af­ter the Czech ex-world No. 1 broke the um­pire’s chair in a rac­quet-slam­ming rage, fol­low­ing her sec­ond round de­feat to Sakkari at the Foro Ital­ico.

Late in the third set, with the Czech serv­ing at 6-3, 3-6, 5-5, 30/30, Pliskova had an over­head in­cor­rectly called out and both the line judge and the um­pire, Marta Mrozin­ska, said they could not find the mark.

Re­plays on TV showed that Pliskova’s ball was clearly in but the um­pire, hav­ing lost the mark, used her judg­ment to call it out and give a break point to Sakkari.

Pliskova called for the su­per­vi­sor, who sided with Mrozin­ska.

A fum­ing Pliskova then net­ted a fore­hand to get bro­ken right away and Sakkari served out the match in the next game to up­set the No. 6 seed 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 and set up a third round against An­gelique Ker­ber.

Af­ter shak­ing Sakkari’s hand, Pliskova ap­proached the um­pire’s chair, but in­stead of shak­ing her hand, she slammed her rac­quet mul­ti­ple times, breaking Mrozin­ska’s chair.

The con­se­quences of the in­ci­dent re­main un­clear – the WTA have said they don’t pub­li­cise their fines – but Pliskova, de­spite be­ing ob­vi­ously robbed of that point, will no doubt re­ceive a hefty fine.

Sakkari ex­plained that she wasn’t able to lo­cate the mark ei­ther be­cause she didn’t see where the ball landed.

“I didn’t re­ally see the ball be­racket cause I was on the other side of the court,” the Greek world No. 42 said af­ter her win.

“I just heard ‘out’. It’s un­for­tu­nate that this hap­pened in a very nice match, great at­mos­phere, she’s a great op­po­nent and ob­vi­ously when I saw her over the net, I just turned and I said ‘she’s 190cm height, she’s not go­ing to miss that one’.

“But that’s another rea­son for in­tro­duc­ing Hawk-Eye on (clay) court.”

Pliskova’s en­tire camp looked fu­ri­ous court-side dur­ing the in­ci­dent, and her coach To­mas Krupa kept talk­ing to the su­per­vi­sor even as play con­tin­ued.

Kristyna, Karolina’s twin sis­ter, later tweeted: “The worst i have ever seen @wta and i hope this lady Marta Mrozin­ska will never ever judge any match of me or Karolina again #black­list­for­ever”.

For­mer coach and ten­nis com­men­ta­tor Brad Gil­bert also hit out at the um­pire say­ing: “She de­serves in­stant red card sus­pen­sion for all matches as chair um­pire, what was her ex­pla­na­tion for not check­ing the mark or hav­ing lines per­son look for right mark on the court?”

On her part, Sakkari is pleased with her bat­tling per­for­mance, that fol­lowed an im­pres­sive vic­tory over Madrid run­ner-up Kiki Bertens in the first round.

“It was a huge win, very tough op­po­nent, great player, I have no words to de­scribe her. She’s huge. I think I played the right way to beat her,” said Sakkari.

Ker­ber, who with­drew from Madrid last week with a thigh in­jury, fought back to de­feat Ro­ma­nian Irina-Camelia Begu 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the sec­ond round.

I just turned and said ‘she’s 190cm height, she’s not go­ing to miss that one’ – Sakkari on Pliskova call

Sym­pa­thetic: Maria Sakkari un­der­stood Karolina Pliskova’s frus­tra­tion over a bad call – even though it helped her win.

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