‘She was robbed!’: Serena Williams fans blame umpire for quarterfinal loss at Australian Open
Serving for the match at 5-1 up in the third set, Williams was called for a foot fault.
Being denied an ace for illegal placement of her feet on the baseline, Williams then twisted her left ankle, receiving an injury which apparently affected her game afterwards.
The holder of the most feared serve in women’s tennis surprisingly wasted her sizable lead, including four match points, losing six games in a row to end her victorious run in Melbourne.
The 37-year-old American was defeated in three sets 4-6 6-4 5-7, failing to set up a rematch with Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who beat her in last year's controversial US Open final.
Frustrated by their idol’s unexpected loss, some Williams fans quickly found a reason for her collapse from a match-winning position, accusing the linesman and umpire of "robbing" the former world number one of victory.
“You can’t call a foot fault at that stage of the match if you haven’t been consistent with the call entire the match [sic]. Her opponent started walking to the net. Williams was robbed!” one fan fumed on Twitter.
“On match point, really?!” The linesman lost the match for Williams. She hit an ace on match point. You can’t call a foot fault at that stage of the match if you haven’t been consistent with the call entire the match. Her opponent started walking to the net. Williams was robbed! pic.twitter.com/EnKZFuDwbz— Team Williams (@GrandSlamSeason) January 23, 2019
They can call foot fault multiple times in matches. They chose to call it on Serena on match point because they don’t want her to succeed. It happens over and over. I’ve never seen any champion get this many bad calls.— Sean Kent (@seankent) January 23, 2019
No it wasn’t! Serena got a bs call which led to a twisted ankle! Serena was hobbled— Dolf Wayne Durden (@dolfer) January 23, 2019
Others insisted that the referee was correct to call a foot fault adding that rules should be applied equally to all the players, including the 23-Grand-Slam winner.
A foot fault is a foot fault man. If she had have won with a foot fault people would say she won by cheating or didn't deserve it. Rules are rules. Respect the game and the Victor that is Pliskova. She saw her chance and took it. Serena had so many opportunities to put it right— Margie 🇮🇪 (@Marjayhan) January 23, 2019
Yes of course! Because she is above the rules and there’s no way they should enforce the rules correctly on match point, how silly of them! Check the replay and you’ll see it was clearly a foot fault...— David Smith (@inverted_winger) January 23, 2019
Williams herself praised her Czech opponent, stressing that her twisted ankle didn’t have much impact on her unexpected loss.
“I don’t think it had anything to do with my ankle, per se,” she added. “I just think she was just nailing and hitting shots,” Williams said graciously after the match.