'Should be ashamed': Tennis world erupts over 'disgraceful' scenes

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·Sports Editor
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Kiki Bertens, pictured here after her win over Sara Errani at the French Open.
Kiki Bertens was in tears before leaving the court in a wheelchair at the French Open. Image: Getty

Tennis fans have slammed Sara Errani after the Italian player abused Kiki Bertens and accused her of faking injury at the French Open.

Fifth seed Bertens narrowly avoided joining the exodus of French Open women’s favourites as she survived a match point and cramps against former runner-up Sara Errani before hobbling into the third round on Wednesday.

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Bertens eventually won 7-6(5) 3-6 9-7 in a clay-court duel lasting more than three hours.

However the Dutch player left the court in a wheelchair and in tears after struggling physically in the final set.

The 28-year-old said she had suffered a full-body cramp when she got back to her chair after the match and needed 45 minutes of treatment in the locker room.

However Errani wasn’t convinced.

Speaking after the match, the Italian player accused Bertens of faking her injuries and even mocked her opponent during the match.

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“I don't like when somebody is joking on you. She played an amazing match, but I don't like the situation,” Errani said.

“For one hour she’s injured, then she run like never. I don’t like that.

“She goes out of the court on the chair, and now she’s in the locker room perfect, in the restaurant. I don't like these things.

“Then after people say to me that I’m an unfair person. It's funny for me these things. I don't think she did a good attitude on court. I didn’t like that.”

Errani also left the court without tapping racquets with Bertens, yelling “f*** you” in Italian as she departed.

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Fans were left in disbelief by Errani’s actions, describing them as “pathetic” and “disgraceful”.

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Kiki Bertens denies faking injury

Bertens laughed off Errani’s comments after the match, insisting she wasn’t faking.

“She can say whatever she feels like but maybe I should take some more acting classes or should pursue a career in that,” Bertens said.

“I'm not sure what she's thinking, but, no, I didn't feel really good on court.

“I don't want to try to take it too personal because I also know her frustrations. I think she's also frustrated with herself that she could not close out that match.”

The 33-year-old Errani, who came through qualifying to start her first grand slam for two years after a doping ban, served for the match three times.

She tried every trick in her arsenal including some dinked underarm serves on occasions but Bertens stood firm despite appearing on the verge of collapse on occasions.

Sara Errani, pictured here in action against Kiki Bertens at the French Open.
Sara Errani in action against Kiki Bertens at the French Open. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Errani's serve is one of the weakest on Tour and it failed her at 5-4, 6-5 and 7-6 as she became increasingly vociferous, repeatedly yelling ‘vamos’ after points.

At 6-5 she brought up a match point with a killer drop shot but Bertens saved it with an angled forehand winner.

Bertens summoned all her energy to eventually hold serve to lead 8-7 in the decider and had triple match point in the next game, only for Errani to save them all.

However, Bertens got another opportunity and this time scrambled over the line to post her only victory over Errani in six attempts.

The orange-clad Bertens collapsed onto the clay, shaking with emotion, as 2012 runner-up Errani stalked off without acknowledging her opponent.

Bertens reached the semi-final in 2016 but is short of match play coming into Roland Garros having failed to win a match since the Tour resumed after the COVID-19 shutdown.

She retired injured in Strasbourg last week.

with agencies

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