January 22, 2019 09:32:23
Spanish player Pablo Carreno Busta was booed out of the arena at the Australian Open after a contentious line ruling prompted an on-court meltdown, following his fourth-round loss against Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
- After being two points from victory, Carreno Busta lost five straight points including the last tiebreaker of the match
- On the 14th point, Carreno Busta’s shot clipped the net and bounced on the left line and a line judge called “out”
- Carreno Busta challenged the call but the point stayed with Nishikori, who sealed the match with an ace
One disputed point, after five hours and five sets, gave Kei Nishikori the shift in momentum he needed to clinch his place in the Australian Open quarter finals — and had Carreno Busta screaming at the umpire and hurling his bag to the ground.
After being two points from victory, Carreno Busta lost five straight, including one in the last tiebreaker where he berated the chair umpire for not ruling a replay, allowing Nishikori to advance 6-7 (8), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (8).
It was the second time Nishikori, the 2014 US Open finalist, has had to come back from two sets down in the tournament, and the second time he’s had to win in the new 10-point fifth-set super tiebreakers that were introduced at Melbourne Park this year.
“That was an important point, too [Carreno Busta’s meltdown], but, I mean, you should ask how I came back from two sets down,” Nishikori said on Monday.
“That was only one point. I mean, maybe [it] affect[ed] him, but … maybe it could affect me.”
Maybe it affected Carreno Busta? The 27-year-old Spaniard lost it, stopping only briefly to hug Nishikori after the match before slamming his bag onto the court and screaming again at the umpire as he left Margaret Court Arena.
“I left as soon as I could after the last point, because I knew I might explode,” Carreno Busta said in Spanish. “I apologise for the way I left the court.”
On the disputed 14th point, Carreno Busta’s shot clipped the net and bounced on the left line.
Nishikori readjusted quickly and hit an easy backhand winner.
A line judge called “out” as Nishikori hit the ball, and Carreno Busta was nowhere close to playing it.
But Carreno Busta challenged the decision, and Hawk-Eye showed his ball hitting the line.
The point remained with Nishikori, however, because chair umpire Thomas Sweeney ruled neither player had been hindered in the point.
Carreno Busta didn’t win another point, and Nishikori sealed the match with an ace.
The eighth-seeded Nishikori stays to play six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.
Carreno Busta is out of the tournament.
“It’s tough, to me to leave Australian Open like this, because I think that I played an unbelievable match,” the 23rd-seeded Spaniard said.
“Also Kei, he played really good, and that’s sad to leave like this.”
January 22, 2019 09:25:24