LONDON (Reuters) - Agnieszka Radwanska paid the ultimate price for following the orders of her coaching team rather than relying on her own instincts in the final game of her Wimbledon semi-final against Garbine Muguruza on Thursday.
With her Spanish opponent serving for the match at 6-2 3-6 5-3 and two points from victory at 40-40, Radwanska inexplicably stopped the next point mid-rally after hearing cries of “out, out” from people in her players’ box who were convinced Muguruza’s backhand had landed behind the baseline.
Radwanska hit the ball back over the net before calling out to the umpire for a late Hawk-Eye challenge as the Spaniard hit her next shot out, leaving Muguruza and the Centre Court crowd bewildered and wondering what was going on.
When Hawk-Eye showed its verdict there was no mistaking that the gamble had backfired — the ball had clipped the baseline.
Radwanska glared up at her coaching team with Muguruza one point away from reaching her debut grand slam final and a point later it was all over.
“I did it because I’m the one to decide if I challenge or not. Nobody can do that for me,” the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up said when pressed on the blunder at a news conference.
“It was 50/50 call. I decided to challenge. It wasn’t a really good decision.”
Despite Radwanska’s attempt to play down the incident, Muguruza shared the view of everyone in the crowd that she had been influenced to make the call.
“I heard some people saying ‘out, out’ I was just praying the ball was on the line,” the 21-year-old grinned holding aloft crossed fingers.
Former champion Lindsay Davenport summed up Radwanska’s predicament after the Pole missed out on a place in her second Wimbledon final.
“It’s interesting Radwanska stopped play as her box called it out and it was in — she was not happy,” said the American.
Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ken Ferris