Australian player Astra Sharma slammed the tournament supervisor’s irresponsible response after an inexplicable blunder by the chair umpire contributed to her 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 defeat to Giulia Gatto-Monticone in the first round of the Copa Colsanitas WTA on Wednesday.
The chair umpire completely forgot the score and wrongly awarded Gatto-Monticone a game, at 1-1, in the third set.
The 25-year-old Sharma was leading 0-30 in the third game of the decider. The chair umpire, Armenta Castro, had stepped on to the court to check a ball-mark on Sharma’s side of the court.
Update: WTA supervisor said I should learn my lesson and focus more on the score instead of my tennis in the future 👍 my confusion is not an excuse https://t.co/JbirOMzObE
— Astra Sharma (@astrasharma) April 6, 2021
Once he was back in the chair, he forgot the score and instead of declaring it 0-40, he called it 30-15 in Gatto-Monticone’s favour.
Though Sharma lost the next point, she won a point later, in what should have helped her clinch the game. The Australian started walking towards the bench thinking she had pocketed the break, but the umpire called her back and said the score was 40-30.
“No, that’s not right. That’s not right at all. I think the players have got confused as well. This is most unorthodox,” the TV commentator said.
Gatto-Monticone won the next point and took the game, according to Castro.
“This is, no – she’s been given this game. Well, it’s got me doubting myself but that should not have been the game for the Italian,” the commentator said. “(Gatto-Monticone) leads 2-1, somehow, in set number three.”
A rattled Sharma, who was confused about how she had lost that game, conceded the next four games and the match.
In a series of tweets, the World No 134 lashed out at the chair umpire and the supervisor Cristina Romero.
“This was outrageous… I was told he was not sure of the score but since I couldn’t tell him how I won the points I could not delay the match arguing with him,” she tweeted.
“Update: WTA supervisor said I should learn my lesson and focus more on the score instead of my tennis in the future,” she wrote. “My confusion is not an excuse.”
The defeat cost Sharma a minimum of $1000 in prize money and 30 ranking points.
Fellow Australian player Ellen Perez rushed to Sharma’s defence.
“There’s actually no excuse for this ridiculous mistake by the umpire and for the supervisor to defend it and blame the player for not focusing on the score is disgusting,” she wrote. “Shame on you! So sick of umpires being a contributing factor to the outcome of matches.”