Sports Outside the Beltway

Serena Williams loses U.S. Open tennis match due to penalty

IMHO last night was the lowest moment in women’s tennis in the last 30 years. From ESPN-

Serena Williams’ U.S. Open title defense ended in bizarre, ugly fashion Saturday night, when she was penalized a point on match point after yelling and shaking her racket in the direction of an official who called a foot fault.

Williams lost to unseeded, unranked Kim Clijsters 6-4, 7-5 in a taut semifinal that featured plenty of powerful groundstrokes by both women. No one will remember a single shot that was struck, though, because of the unusual, dramatic way it finished.

With Williams serving at 5-6, 15-30 in the second set, she faulted on her first serve. On the second serve, a line judge called a foot fault, making it a double-fault — a call rarely, if ever, seen at that stage of any match, let alone the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament.

Complete Results

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That made the score 15-40, putting Clijsters one point from victory.

Instead of stepping to the baseline to serve again, Williams went over and shouted and cursed at the line judge, pointing at her and shaking a ball at her.

Dropping the f-word liberally, Williams said, “I swear to God I’m [expletive] going to take this [expletive] ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat, you hear that? I swear to God.”

The line judge was called over to the chair umpire, and tournament referee Brian Earley joined in the conversation. With the crowd booing — making part of the dialogue inaudible — Williams then went over and said to the line judge: “Sorry, but there are a lot of people who’ve said way worse.” Then the line judge said something to the chair umpire, and Williams responded, “I didn’t say I would kill you. Are you serious? I didn’t say that.” The line judge replied by shaking her head and saying, “Yes.”

Williams already had been given a code violation warning when she broke her racket after losing the first set. So the chair umpire now awarded a penalty point to Clijsters, ending the match.

Williams behavior was very unsportsmanlike. I don’t think the penalty point was unwarranted at all.

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