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Baghdatis faces fine for Open meltdown
By WWOS staff & AAP
11:30 AEST Thu Jan 19 2012

Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis is facing a fine after a furious tantrum at the Australian Open that saw him smash four racquets.

After falling two sets down to 21st seed Stanislaw Warinka, Baghdatis vented his anger during a changeover.

The 2006 finalist sat in his chair and whacked his racket seven times on the court until it was completely mangled.

He then calmly gave it to a ballboy before picking three more from his bag - two still in plastic wrappers - and breaking those one by one.

The tantrum boosted Baghdatis, who recovered to win the set but lost the match 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 5-7 6-1.

The Grand Slam Committee will meet on Thursday to decide on the size of his fine. Regulations say a player can be fined up to $US2,000 for each incident of racket abuse.

Baghdatis' inglorious exit capped a dramatic day at Melbourne Park that was punctuated by dubious umpiring during American John Isner's marathon victory over David Nalbandian.

Isner, who clubbed 43 aces, prevailed 4-6 6-3 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 10-8 after four hours and 48 minutes - but only after French umpire Kader Nouni made a terrible blunder in the penultimate game.

Nalbandian thought he was on the brink of gaining the decisive break when Isner was serving at 8-8, 30-40 in the tense 99-minute fifth set.

A first serve down the middle was called out by the linesman before Nouni over-ruled, prompting a bemused response from the Argentine.

"Can you be that stupid to do that?" Nalbandian said post-match.

Nalbandian then challenged, but Nouni said it was too late.

Replays showed the ball was a fault.

Nalbandian marched to the umpire's chair, venting and gesticulating as the crowd noise intensified.

He called on the match referee Andreas Egli but, after a lengthy exchange with the Swiss, Nalbandian received no joy.

Isner held serve to nudge ahead 9-8 in the decider.

Walking to his chair for the change of ends, Nalbandian continued his tirade at the umpire and again as he walked to serve to stay in the match.

Crowd support was now with Isner.

The American, battling leg cramp and barely able to run on some points, brought up break and match point with a running forehand down the line.

Nalbandian then missed a backhand volley to lose the match - and angrily threw his racquet across the court.

As he shook hands with Isner, his racquet, with its head caved in, lay near the sideline.

Earlier in the match, Isner had been warned for smashing his racquet at a change of ends.

When he lost the fourth set, Nalbandian had flung his racquet into the back fence. A ballboy rushed over and gave Nalbandian his racquet back - which was duly tossed into the crowd.

After being booed during the penultimate game, Nalbandian was given a standing ovation as he walked off the court from the marathon encounter.

Nalbandian last year eliminated Lleyton Hewitt in a similarly lengthy five-setter after the Australian had conquered the South American in another classic, fiery Open quarter-final back in 2005.

But the former Open semi-finalist and world No.3 was left furious by his departure on this occasion.

"Too late? How many times everybody check the mark and ask for the Hawk-Eye?" Nalbandian demanded after being denied the challenge replay.

"So somebody from the umpires or ATP, somebody can explain to me this situation.

"I mean, what is this? This is a grand slam ... I mean, I don't see the video, but I don't think it was too late to call.

"John say: `Yeah, ask.' I mean, the Hawk-Eye, and umpire didn't want to.

"It's ridiculous playing this kind of tournament with this kind of umpires.

"What is this? What did the ATP do for this? I didn't understand in that situation, 8-All break point."


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