LONDON (Reuters) - Dominika Cibulkova reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the third time but made few friends around Court 18 as she beat Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei in controversial circumstances on Monday.
The Slovakian won 6-4 6-1 but the match will be remembered for a ludicrous umpiring decision at a crucial stage of a tight opening set.
Hsieh, who stunned world number one Simona Halep on Saturday, was the victim of a glaring mistake by umpire Zhang Juan.
As Hsieh served at 4-5 0-30 Cibulkova pummeled a return deep into court and immediately challenged the linesman’s call of out, prompting Hawkeye to show it had indeed been in.
That is when common sense deserted the court.
The umpire awarded the point to Cibulkova, even though Hsieh had actually scrambled her return back.
Hsieh argued, correctly, that the point should be replayed but the umpire would not budge, saying she could not remember if Hsieh’s shot had gone in.
Cibulova could have intervened but simply stood on the baseline in the advantage court as if to prepare for a 0-40 situation, even with the crowd chanting “replay the point...replay the point”.
When a referee was summoned Cibulkova was called to the net and after further dialogue was told the point would be replayed. Her indignant response hardly endeared her to the crowd who understandably had taken Hsieh’s side.
When play resumed Hsieh battled back to 30-30 but Cibulkova won the game to take the first set and she powered through the second to book a last-eight clash with fellow power-merchant Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
Thirty-third ranked Cibulkova, who has responded in feisty fashion to being bumped out of the seedings by Serena Williams’ elevation to 25th, fought her corner in a news conference.
“I don’t want to talk about it because I would get really upset and angry about that, because it was ridiculous what happened there,” Cibulkova said.
“It never happened to me in my career that the umpire changed the decision. It was really ridiculous for me.”
Asked whether she had sympathy for Hsieh, Cibulkova was adamant it was not the Taiwanese player who had been wronged.
“The right decision was, of course, to keep the decision,” the 29-year-old said.
“This happened to me so many times that I had exact the same point, and the point was given to the other player. I had no sympathy because it’s just about the chair umpire.”
Hsieh, 32, did not speak until after playing doubles later but was more gracious.
“I understand, she’s a fighter,” when asked if Cibulkova had shown a lack of sportsmanship. “She fights for every point.”
And of the umpire, she added: “Maybe she’s tired and she doesn’t see the ball. It’s quite common, even players on the court sometimes get tired and don’t see something, it’s normal.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Lovell and Ed Osmond