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Busted Racquet

Caroline Wozniacki’s stall tactic helps advance her to third round

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caroline wozniacki fo11 arguing

Caroline Wozniacki was down 5-3 in a second-set tiebreak on Wednesday when her lob went long and was called out by a linesman, giving her opponent, Aleksandra Wozniak, three set points that would push the match to a decisive third set. When the chair umpire took a look at the spot and confirmed that the ball was out, Wozniacki wasn't satisfied. She continued to argue about the easy call, asking that the chair umpire ask the linesman to point out the mark.

It seemed to be an argument Wozniacki knew she couldn't win and maybe didn't really want to. She explained herself after the match:

"The ball was going very fast, it wasn't slow [love how she felt the need to explain that it wasn't a moonball. -- CC], and if both the linesman and the umpire didn't see it when it was going like this, I wanted the linesman to confirm it was the mark that was shown.

"It would be nice if the linesman could show where the mark is. It's not such a big problem. If he shows the mark, fine, that's enough.

"But maybe he saw another mark, I don't know. I just think it would be nice to have him check, like the Hawk-Eye. It's the same thing."

Now, the world No. 1 knows there's no Hawk-Eye at the French Open. It's not a big secret. Because the ball makes a mark on the clay, organizers don't think they need it (and they enjoy pointing out how this makes them different). TV networks can access the replays but the chair umpire cannot. Thus, unless Wozniacki was protesting the injustice of the entire tournament not using the ball-spotting technology during the middle of a match, that statement about her intentions is complete garbage.

She knew what she was doing. Whether she took the break to calm herself down or to freeze Wozniak before her set points, I don't know. There was a method to the madness, though, and whatever it was, the stall tactic worked. Wozniacki won the next five points and advanced to the third round.

It wasn't appreciated by the fans, who booed and jeered Wozniacki during the delay, nor by Caroline's father and coach, Piotr, who was seen yelling (coaching?) while his daughter argued, seemingly to tell her to get back to the baseline to serve.

Though the argument wasn't the most sportsmanlike move we'll see in Paris, none of the top players in the draw are above a little gamesmanship. Some just go about it a little more blatantly than others.

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