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Chris Chase

Official berated by Serena declines invite to Tour Championship

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The Japanese lineswoman who earned the wrath of Serena Williams at the U.S. Open semifinals will not be part of the officiating team for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championship in Doha later this month. This spares a possible reunion with Williams, who will be playing in the tournament.

A British newspaper reports that the woman, whose name still hasn't been publicly revealed, would have been considered for the prestigious assignment but declined for an unknown reason.

The amateur official became a worldwide figure last month after calling a foot fault that eventually led to Williams' infamous breakdown. But the high marks she earned earlier in the summer would have qualified her to work at the prestigious tour championships, which reward officials based on merit. Some speculate that she declined the invite because she was instructed not to travel to Qatar (by whom, the rumors don't say). The WTA has said the woman declined for family reasons.

Clearly the lineswoman is held in great esteem by colleagues if she was assigned a semifinal match at the U.S. Open and earned an invite to officiate at the eight-play season finale. But let's not forget her terrible decision to call a foot fault violation on Serena in her semifinal match against Kim Clijsters is what started this whole thing. Yes, she didn't deserve to be humiliated and we feel bad for her and family because of this, but she did deserve infamy for making such a match-changing call. (Look at the reaction to similar blown calls made in baseball last week.)

Serena's outburst was so bad that it overshadowed the awfulness of the call that caused it. If Serena had briefly argued before resuming play, the story would have been about the horrible foot fault called by the lineswoman, not the resulting tirade. Serena was set to be the sympathetic figure cast against the villainous lineswoman, but the roles were reversed the instant she dropped that first f-bomb.

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