September 11, 2011
Oh no, she did it again.
Mt. Serena erupted once more in defeat Sunday at the U.S. Open. This time it happened in the tournament final after chair umpire Eva Asderaki ruled that Serena's loud "come on!," which she yelled during what she thought was a forehand winner, had been shrieked before the point was over. Since it interrupted opponent Sam Stosur's attempt at a return, Asderaki properly awarded Stosur the point because of the "hindrance rule" that states a player can't verbally interfere with the opponent's points.
Stosur had already handed Serena Williams her first loss in a set at the U.S. Open. Serena was serving at 30-40 in the first game of the second when she hit the supposed winner and shrieked in approval. But she called out before the point was over, while Stosur was still make a futile attempt to get her racquet on the ball. Asderaki gave the point, and the early break that came with it, to the Australian.
Serena was understandably displeased, though she had no ground on which to stand. The call was obvious. Serena disagreed and became more incensed when she thought that the umpire, Asderaki, was the same official who was in the chair for her infamous 2009 blowup at the tournament. It wasn't.
"Aren't you the one who screwed me over last time here?" Serena asked after being told of the point penalty. "Yeah, you are." (Asderaki and Louise Engzell don't look much alike except for the high ponytail.)
Serena stood and glared at Asderaki for a few seconds while the New York crowd roared in her defense. Stosur looked momentarily stunned. Serena went on to break Stosur to even the match and continued her diatribe against the umpire during the next two changeovers.
"A code violation because I expressed who I am? We're in America last I checked. Am I gonna get violated for a water? Really, don't even look at me. I promise you, don't look at me because I am not the one. Don't look my way." [...]
"If you ever see me walking down the hall, walk the other way. Because you're out of control. Totally out of control. You're a hater, you're unattractive inside. Who would do such a thing? And I never complain. Wow."
No, Serena has never been one to complain.
The same impotent U.S. Open officials who were bullied by men's players into moving the final because of rain and put a women's semifinal on a small court sat silent as Serena humiliated Asderaki. They said later that they'll review the incident. Just in time.
For an instant it looked like Serena would be invigorated by the incident. Stosur broke soon after and went to win 6-2, 6-3 in a stunning upset.
Serena was gracious as she greeted Stosur at the net following the loss and didn't dwell on the incident in post-match interviews. She didn't look up at Asderaski as she brushed past the chair without shaking the umpire's hand.
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