Sam Stosur was caught up in a controversial sportsmanship storm in the women’s doubles final at the Australian Open.
Stosur is an Australian Open champion once more, teaming with Zhang Shuai to win the women’s doubles on Friday afternoon.
Stosur and Zhang were emphatic in their defeat of second seeds and reigning champions Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, winning 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 34 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
But the match wasn’t without controversy.
Mladenovic drew the ire of commentators and fans with some questionable tactics while Stosur was serving.
At one stage, Mladenovic appeared to say “come on” when Stosur faulted on a first serve.
The Frenchwoman also reportedly gave Stosur some choice words when the Aussie was struggling with her ball toss.
“Sam, not intentionally, needed a couple of ball tosses for her first serve. That’s no crime in tennis, not against the rules,” Alicia Molik said in commentary.
“Between serves Mladenovic gave her a hard time verbally (saying) ‘Get your toss up’.
“You can’t possibly do that. I don’t believe it’s right as a player to have any verbal interaction with your opponents.”
Mladenovic could also be seen bouncing around at the net during Stosur’s serves, as if to try and distract her.
And now she’s taken issue with Sam throwing up her ball toss and catching it?! https://t.co/f5bgZ3OtY9
— Matt Trollope (@MattyAT) January 25, 2019
But Stosur had the final say.
The popular Queenslander was ecstatic in triumph 14 years after her mixed doubles success with Scott Draper.
Stosur dropped her racquet on championship point as if in disbelief before embracing her great friend at the net.
The triumph was a redemption of sorts for the 34-year-old, who with partner Lisa Raymond held championship points to win the same title 13 years ago but failed to convert.
Stosur’s resolve was tested several times through the match; not more so than when she double faulted on her first championship point.
What followed was the point of the match – if not the tournament – a 25-point rally when both Stosur and Zhang missed a number of smash opportunities before holding steady to win another championship point.
Stosur and Zhang wouldn’t be denied on the next opportunity to claim the trophy.