'Absolutely inexcusable': French Open final rocked by 'absurd' drama

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Seen here, runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.
Runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova pose with their trophies. Pic: Getty

Tennis fans have taken aim at the chair umpire in the French Open women's final after the match between Barbora Krejcikova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ended in farcical scenes.

Krejcikova won her maiden grand slam singles title after beating Pavlyuchenkova to become the first Czech woman in 40 years to conquer Roland Garros.

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The 25-year-old emulated compatriot Hana Mandlikova, who claimed the trophy in Paris in 1981, after triumphing 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 for just her second career singles title.

However, the decider ended in controversial circumstances after Krejcikova had squandered three championship points, before finally claiming the title.

Krejcikova paused momentarily before celebrating with a somewhat confused fist pump after Pavlyuchenkova's backhand was called out.

Replays suggested that the ball may not have actually landed out at all, with several shots appearing to show it catching the chalk on the Parisian clay.

The image on the right shows just how close the decisive final call was in the women's French Open final.
Replays showed just how close the decisive call on championship point was. Pic: Getty/Ch9

Umpire Kader Nouni inexplicably opted against checking the mark, despite the magnitude of the point and the fact there was only millimetres in the call.

With the French Open the only one of the majors not using Hawk-Eye Live technology, viewers were gobsmacked by the umpire's decision not to check the mark.

ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert led the outrage on social media after labelling it an "absolutely inexcusable" call from the official.

“I am shocked umpire did not fly out of chair to check mark, bad tournament for umpires.

“(The umpires) have to check mark there and we never got to see Hawkeye replay.

“Absolutely absurd they did not check the mark … absolutely inexcusable to not look at mark.

“Inexcusable this is happening, that can literally change outcome of matches.”

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Czech dedicates win to late mentor

Following the win, 25-year-old Krejcikova paid an emotional tribute to her late friend and mentor Jana Novotna, who died of cancer at the age of 49 in 2017.

"It's hard to put into words. I cannot believe I have just won a Grand Slam," said Krejcikova who was still outside the top 100 when the 2020 French Open took place last October.

"I spent a lot of time with Jana before she died. Her last words to me were 'enjoy tennis and try and win a Grand Slam'.

"I know she's looking after me. All this is pretty much because she is looking after me.

"It was amazing that I got the chance to meet her. She was such an inspiration. I miss her and I hope she's really happy," added Krejcikova who had to save a match point in her semi-final to defeat Maria Sakkari.

Seen here, Barbora Krejcikova looks to the skies after her French Open triumph.
Barbora Krejcikova paid tribute to her late friend and mentor Jana Novotna after her French Open triumph. Pic: Getty

Krejcikova, who can also win a third Grand Slam women's doubles title on Sunday with Katerina Siniakova, was presented with the trophy by Czech-born Martina Navratilova who won two French Opens in 1982 and 1984 but as an American citizen.

Krejcikova will rise to number 15 in the world as a result of her win on Saturday as she became the sixth successive first-time major winner in Paris.

She is also the third unseeded champion at Roland Garros in the last five years after Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 and Iga Swiatek in 2020.

If she adds the doubles on Sunday, she'll be the first player since Mary Pierce in 2000 to claim both titles at the same Roland Garros.

with agencies

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