Teenager Mirra Andreeva was given a point penalty for throwing her racket and refusing to shake the umpire’s hand during her 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 loss to Madison Keys in Wimbledon on Monday.
World No 102 Andreeva, who is aiming to become the youngest player to reach the last eight of a grass-court Grand Slam since Anna Kournikova in 1997, fought bravely against Keys but was eventually overwhelmed by the experienced American.
Andreeva was given her first warning by umpire Louise Azemar Engzell after throwing her racket into the grass when she lost the second-set tie-break.
She appeared to throw her racket away again when Keys forced deuce at 2-5 in the deciding set, earning a second warning and an automatic point penalty, giving her opponent a match point. .
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Andreeva argued her case to Azemar Engzell, saying: “Do you understand what you did? I didn’t throw the racket. I slid. Wrong decision. I slid and fell.”
But the decision stood and Keys won the next point to secure victory, with Andreeva heading to the net to shake her opponent’s hand but going straight past the umpire.
Andreeva feared default after hitting the ball angrily into the crowd at the French Open and teenage petulance is something she clearly needs to work on, but there’s no doubt she’s a special talent.
He had not played on grass until the qualifying tournament two weeks ago but he learned quickly on the surface and his combination of exceptional defense and intelligent point construction will win him many matches.
For nearly an hour she was in complete control, along with Keys, who has one of the most natural ball strikes in the game but can be erratic, making error after error.
The American pulled himself together just in time, changing his tactics to follow his big groundstrokes to the net and even breaking serve with a left-handed forehand winner.
When it came to the second set tie-break, Keys had the momentum, and Andreeva couldn’t contain her frustration at the start of the deciding set.
She briefly threatened to turn things around again but Keys kept her cool as Andreeva lost her and with it the match.