By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) -In-form Jelena Ostapenko’s Wimbledon hopes were dashed in a stormy defeat by Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round on Saturday, with the players exchanging angry words at the net.
Latvian Ostapenko, winner of the Eastbourne grasscourt title and a dark horse at Wimbledon, went down 4-6 6-4 6-2 against the world number 75.
Things boiled over when Ostapenko asked for a medical timeout while trailing 4-0 in the deciding set — prompting a furious response by Tomljanovic who accused her opponent of feigning injury in an attempt to break her rhythm.
“You know she’s lying,” Tomljanovic told the umpire, demanding that the supervisor be called to court.
The war of words continued at the end of the match after a frosty handshake.
Ostapenko: “If you think I’m faking it, you can talk with the physio.”
Tomljanovic: “I hope you feel better.”
Ostapenko: “Your behaviour is terrible. You have zero respect.”
Tomljanovic: “You are the one to talk.”
Ostapenko: “What? So bad, so bad. You’re the worst player on Tour.”
Tomljanovic had already surpassed her best Wimbledon effort by reaching round three and will now take on British teenage wildcard sensation Emma Raducanu in the last 16.
Questioned later about the incident, both players stuck to their guns with Tomljanovic railing against what she said were all-too-frequent medical timeouts in women’s tennis.
“I’m just honestly tired of it. I’m tired of it happening and seeing it happen. We can do better than that,” the 28-year-old told reporters.
“She can say she was injured. I don’t think she was. There was nothing wrong with her the whole match, but then why on 4-0 she calls it when I’m about to serve. Usually you just say can I have the physio at the next changeover.
“Then to top it all off, for her to call me disrespectful at the end of the match is just, it’s laughable. I think it’s disgraceful behaviour from someone that is a slam champion.”
Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, said she had done nothing wrong.
“She cannot say anything unless she knows anything, and she’s not me so she cannot feel the pain,” the world number 34 said. “I’m the one who feels the pain. It’s very disrespectful from her side, because she knows zero about what I had.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Clare Fallon)