Rising Australian tennis star Astra Sharma has been bundled out of the Copa Colsanitas in Colombia after a major umpiring blunder cost her a game and started her slide to a loss.
Sharma, who was ranked 134 in the world before the loss has seen her slide 29 places to 163 on the live WTA rankings, was had the game stolen in the third set of her match with Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone in a 4-6 7-5 6-1 result.
Watch Tennis with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. Live Coverage of ATP + WTA Tour Tournaments including Every Finals Match. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
It was 1-all in the third set with Sharma seemingly heading for a break point at 0-30 when the umpire left his chair to see if the ball had gone out on Sharma’s side of the court.
The ball had which should have seen Sharma go to 0-40 and be looking at three break points but when umpire Luis David Armenta Castro returned to the chair, he called the score 30-15.
The commentators were stunned when he called out the score, saying “I think he miscalled the score — it’s 0-40”.
When Sharma’s next return hit the net, the commentators were equally perplexed when he called the score as 40-15, rather than 15-40.
“It’s 15-40, he’s got a bit flustered now,” the commentator said.
After a short rally, Gatto-Monticone hit it long and it should have been the point to Sharma, but the commentators finally realised the extent of the issue when Armenta Castro called the score out at 40-30.
“No, that’s not right at all,” the commentator said. “That’s the game. The umpire’s got confused and I think the players have got confused as well. This is most unorthodox.”
When Sharma went wide on the next shot, the umpire called the game for Gatto-Monticone with Sharma casting a perplexed figure on the baseline.
“She’s been given this game, Giulia Gatto-Monticone,” the commentator said. “Well, it’s got me doubting myself but that should not have been the game for the Italian. She leads 2-1 somehow in set number three.”
Sharma imploded from there, losing the next four straight games to bow out of the tournament in three sets.
Post-match, Sharma took to Twitter, revealing she was told the umpire had forgotten the score.
“This was outrageous … I was told he was not sure of the score but since I couldn’t tell him how I won the points I could not delay the match arguing with him,” she tweeted.
When tweeted by a fan who had said they hoped she had called the tournament director and that they had “never seen anything like this”, Sharma explained her opponent had sided with the officials.
“Opponent and the ref claimed I had made three errors and therefore since I couldn’t remember how I won points I wasn’t allowed to delay play … I was confused, I asked them to talk to the line umpire who had called at least three of her balls long and he said they had rotated,” she tweeted.
But that wasn’t all.
Fans reactions were mixed with several labelling the umpire and supervisor’s conduct as “absurd”, “outrageous” and “insane” but others also blamed Sharma for not knowing the score.
One such person was Richard Ings, the former CEO of ASADA and the former executive vice-president of rules and competition for the ATP Tour.
Calling it “quite amateur all around”.
Sharma did have some supporters however, with fellow Australian tennis player and world no. 240 Ellen Perez tweeting “There’s actually no excuse for this ridiculous mistake by the umpire and for the supervisor to defend it and blame the player for not focusing on the score is disgusting. Shame on you! So sick of umpires being a contributing factor to the outcome of matches”.
The result sees Sharma well outside the top 100 now and cost her at least $1000 in prizemoney.