Umpire feud sparks cataclysmic meltdown

Czech superstar Karolina Pliskova has been knocked out of the Australian Open by countrywoman Karolina Muchova on Saturday afternoon.

The former world No. 1 suffered a straight sets 7-5, 7-5 defeat at Rod Laver Arena, highlighted by a cataclysmic meltdown in the second set.

Pliskova is renowned for her temperament and composure, but she showed signs of frustration during the third round encounter in Melbourne Park.

In the first set, Pliskova smashed her racquet after a double fault which gifted Muchova a critical break of serve, and was promptly awarded a code violation from British umpire Alison Hughes.

The 28-year-old was handed a second code violation after breaking another racquet in the tunnel during a break in play, thinking she was out of sight.

Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova throws her racquet.Source:AFP

Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic.Source:Getty Images

Pliskova confronted the umpire: “I can do what I want off court!”

Hughes replied: “Yes, but you’re still not allowed to do it.”

Pliskova asked: “Why not? Off-court I can do what I want! Somebody saw me or what?”

Hughes responded: “The line umpire reported it, yes.”

Incredibly, Muchova found herself 0-5 down in the second set, but won the following seven games to claim an unlikely victory.

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Omg Muchova is a game away from knocking out #6 Pliskova!

Pliskova was up 5-0 in the second and she just choked 5-6

Pliskova hit 40 unforced errors with only 23 winners, and it has now been more than two years since she reached the quarterfinal of a grand slam tournament.

The number six seed’s exit is the latest in a series of shock upsets in the women’s draw during the first week in Melbourne, with reigning champion Sofia Kenin knocked out on Thursday.

“I thought she just played little bit better at this moment,” Pliskova said after the loss.

“Of course, I played quite amazing to 5-0, but then it’s quite tough to hold this level for longer time. I was going for, like, big shots.

“The feeling was not great from any of the matches here. Some were little bit better, some were little bit worse.

“I think overall, too many mistakes, too much like panic in the rallies. I don’t feel safe with anything that I was really doing on the court.”

Karolina Muchova comes back from 0-5 down in the 2d set to beat Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 7-5 & reach the 4th round of the Australian Open. Had to suppress her celebration: she and Pliskova are good friends and were quarantine practice partners. Laver Arena all but empty#Getty

Pliskova and Muchova were hitting partners during the two-week quarantine period.

“I’m a little sad, we are very good friends,” Muchova said after the win. “I’m happy I made it through in two sets.

“I think we were both a little nervous. I must say, when we played in practice in quarantine, it was a different level.”

The 24-year-old Muchova will face either Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic or Belgium’s Elise Mertens in the fourth round on Monday.

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