Australian Open: Umpiring blunder marred men’s doubles third round match
MELBOURNE — A bizarre umpiring blunder has marred a third-round Australian Open men’s doubles match between Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos and Yannick Hanfmann/Dominik Koepfer.
At set point in the second set tie-breaker, Hanfmann’s return to a Granollers serve flicked the let cord. Zeballos, positioned at the net, played a half-volley off the let cord, causing the ball to spin up and over the net.
When the ball cleared the net, it spun back over, and Granollers, in a bizarre move, caught it. Simultaneously, Koepfer’s racquet slipped from his grip as he lunged forward in an attempt to play the ball on the opposite side of the net, exercising his right to do so.
As the umpire awarded the point to Granollers/Zeballos, leveling the match 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), confusion swept through the court.
Former Australia tennis player John Fitzgerald expressed his bewilderment during the commentary, questioning the umpire’s decision. “Bemused – I don’t know what happened there. This is not right, this can’t be right. It’s gone over, and Granollers grabs it – that’s not set, that’s not a point, that’s a big mistake by the umpire here,” Fitzgerald said in commentary as quoted by Wide World of Sports.
Fellow commentator Geoff Masters said the umpire needed to be able to see a replay.
“That needs to be replayed somewhere for the chair to see, because that’s wrong.”
Fitzgerald added: “He’s interfered with Koepfer having a chance to put that ball away – legally, he can reach over. Koepfer is within his rights to go after that, and Granollers stopped him,”
Despite the controversial decision, the match continued, and fortunately for the umpire, Koepfer and Hanfmann clinched the third set, securing their spot in the quarter-finals.
Australian Open: Bopanna-Ebden pair marches into men’s doubles quarterfinal
MELBOURNE — Indian veteran Rohan Bopanna and his Australian partner Matthew Ebden entered the men’s doubles quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Monday.
The second seed Indo-Australian duo defeated 14th-seeded Dutch-Croatian pair of Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-4) to enter the last eight stage.
After reaching the quarterfinals, Bopanna assured of the world no .2 ranking in men’s doubles and a win in the quarters will take him to the ranking summit.
Bopanna and Ebden now set up a clash against sixth seeds Argentine pair Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni.
The 43-year-old Bopanna remains the only Indian challenge alive at the Australian Open 2024.
Australian Open: Noskova moves into quarterfinals after Svitolina retires
MELBOURNE — Czech teenager Linda Noskova advanced into the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career after Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina was forced to retire from her fourth-round match on Monday trailing 3-0 in the first set.
After losing a marathon opening game spanning seven deuces, Svitolina advanced on a short ball early in the second game and pulled up gingerly after a forehand; when she went down 2-0, she called for a medical time-out, indicating to the physio she’d pinched something in her lower back, Australia Open reports.
She received treatment, but lost the next game and teared up as she realised she couldn’t continue, retiring at the net where she was hugged by the Czech teen.
“I got a spasm, or I don’t know exactly what it is, but like shooting pain in the first game, the last two points. Yeah, couldn’t do anything. Completely locked my back. Just very sad, of course,” Svitolina told reporters.
Noskova, the world No.50 who stunned top seed Iga Swiatek in the previous round, advanced to a quarterfinal showdown with Dayana Yastremska, who has reached her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 7-6,(8-6), 6-4 upset over 18th seed Victoria Azarenka.