Maria Sakkari believes the controversial call that took place during her three-set win over Karolina Pliskova in Rome on Wednesday 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.
I have never seen Pliskova like this. pic.twitter.com/nAI5OcMjdH
— Ashish TV 🎾🎥 (@Ashish__TV) May 16, 2018
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 because 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, made a winning return to action, fighting back to defeat Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round.