It was a rough end to the Australian Open for Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta on Monday.
No. 23 seed Carreno Busta fell to Japan’s Kei Nishikori on Monday night in the fourth round 6-7 (8), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (8). It was late in the fifth set, though, that set the 27-year-old off and later caused him to storm off the court screaming in anger.
Carreno Busta was leading 8-5 in the fifth set tiebreaker on Monday when a shot of his hit the net and landed on the line, which an official called out. No. 7 seed Nishikori hit the ball anyway, which made it past Carreno Busta.
Carreno Busta quickly challenged the call, which showed that the ball was in fact in play. He claimed that the line judge who initially made the call did so incorrectly before Nishikori hit it, and argued that the point should be replayed. Umpire Thomas Sweeney, though, gave the point to Nishikori.
Nishikori then won the next four points, taking the match and advancing in the tournament.
The pair shook hands after the match. Not soon after, though, Carreno Busta exploded. He threw his bag onto the court and started screaming at Sweeney while an echo of boos rained down throughout the stadium before he left the court.
Carreno Busta quickly apologized, however, and did so again on Twitter later.
“Obviously I’m very sad because after five hours fighting, the way that I leave from the court wasn’t correct, and I’m so sorry because that’s not me,” Carreno Busta told the BBC. “It’s tough for me to leave the Australian Open like this, because I think I played an unbelievable match. Also Kei, he played really good.”
Carreno Busta’s fourth-round appearance marked his best singles finish in the Australian Open and his third-best finish in a Grand Slam event, having reached the quarterfinals in the French Open and the semifinals in the U.S. Open in 2017.
The match lasted more than five hours on Monday, bringing Nishikori’s total court time to nearly 14 hours through the first four rounds of the tournament.
“I feel it’s not enough,” the 29-year-old told the BBC. “It’s not easy of course. I will try to recover well on Tuesday.”
Nishikori advances to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, where he’ll take on No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
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