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Cibulkova into Wimbledon quarters after umpire row

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LONDON — Not for the first time at Wimbledon, Dominika Cibulkova was left agitated by a decision that went against her.

Having been upset at missing out on a seeding at the start of the tournament, the Slovakian was angered when a crucial ruling went against her during the first set of a 6-4, 6-1 fourth-round victory over Hsieh Su-Wei on Monday.

In the third Wimbledon quarterfinal of her career, Cibulkova will face 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who also overcame a disagreement with an official on her way to reaching the last eight.

Two points from the first set at 4-5, 0-30 on Hsieh’s serve, Cibulkova was awarded a set point, before having it taken away from her after a seven-minute delay involving discussions between both players, the chair umpire, and the match referee.

“It never happened to me that the umpire changed the decision,” Cibulkova said. “It was really ridiculous for me. It was (a) really bad decision from the supervisor and from the umpire.”

Cibulkova was aggrieved before the tournament when her place as the 32nd and final seeded player was taken away as seven-time champion Serena Williams was given special dispensation by the All England Club on her return from pregnancy.

The Slovakian’s patience was tested again when a backhand she struck onto the baseline was called out. Hsieh, who defeated top-seeded Simona Halep in the previous round, returned the ball over the net and into the court as Cibulkova immediately challenged.

After the review confirmed the ball landed on the line, umpire Juan Zhang awarded the point to Cibulkova.

Hsieh of Taiwan protested to the Chinese umpire in a language that Cibulkova couldn’t understand, before the match referee became involved as calls of “replay the point” came from a bemused crowd on Court 18.

After seven minutes, the decision was finally changed and the point replayed.

“It was all wrong,” Cibulkova said. “It really messed with me for two balls, then I tried to just calm down, to play my game.”

Cibulkova did just that, regaining her composure to break and take the first set, before comfortably closing out victory in the second.

The 12th-seeded Ostapenko was given a code violation for receiving coaching while beating Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 7-6 (4), 6-0.

The warning came with Ostapenko two breaks of serve down at 2-5 and on the verge of losing her first set at these championships. The Latvian insisted nobody from her box said anything.

“That code violation made me even more motivated and angry,” Ostapenko said. “So I just started to play better.”

Ostapenko lost only one more game as she progressed to a second consecutive Wimbledon quarterfinal.

“You never know what to expect from her (Ostapenko),” Cibulkova said. “In this tournament, she seems to be in the right mood.”

On Tuesday, Cibulkova may want to avoid putting Ostapenko in a bad mood.

Bryan, Sock win ATP Finals doubles title

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LONDON — American pair Mike Bryan and Jack Sock saved a match point in the deciding tiebreaker to beat Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 5-7, 6-1, 13-11 for their first ATP Finals doubles title together on Sunday.

Having failed to take advantage of five championship points during the first-to-10 match tiebreaker, Bryan and Sock then had to save one against their French opponents before finally closing out victory at the O2 Arena.

“It was a hell of a match,” Bryan said.

The 40-year-old Bryan has now won the season-ending tournament five times. He won four times with his usual partner – and brother – Bob, who has been out with an injured hip since May.

Sock and Bryan have dominated since teaming up, winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open before finishing their season in style in London.

“It’s been a hell of a ride,” Bryan said. “This could be our last hoorah because Bob’s training back in Florida.”

After reaching the singles semifinals last year, Sock has endured a torrid season in that format, falling outside the top-100 ranked players. However, he became the first American since John McEnroe to add a doubles final appearance at the tournament to his last-four singles showing.

“This is special because it was a pretty bad year in singles,” Sock said. “This makes up for some of the low moments I’ve had.”

The French duo’s season is not over yet. Herbert and Mahut are part of their nation’s squad for the Davis Cup final against Croatia, which starts in Lille on Friday.

Ball boy flub taints Zverev’s ATP Finals win vs. Federer

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LONDON — After pulling off one of the biggest wins of his career, Alexander Zverev was left apologizing for an unforced error he didn’t make.

Zverev denied Roger Federer a shot at a 100th career title by beating the Swiss great 7-5, 7-6 (5) on Saturday to advance to the championship match at the ATP Finals.

Federer was leading the second-set tiebreaker 4-3 and in the ascendancy of a rally on a Zverev service point when a ball boy at the back of the court dropped a ball. Zverev immediately signaled for the point to be stopped and the umpire ordered the point to be replayed.

Zverev served an ace before going on to close out the match moments later.

“I want to apologize for the situation in the tiebreak,” said Zverev, who was booed by some members of the crowd during his on-court interview. “The ball boy dropped the ball so it’s in the rules that we have to replay the point.

“I’m a little bit upset about the whole situation because this is not how I wanted it to end.”

Zverev is the youngest player at 21 to reach the final since 2009 and the first from Germany since 1996. He will next face Novak Djokovic or Kevin Anderson, who are in the other semifinal later Saturday.

Federer, 37, was seeking a record-extending seventh title, but was unable to cope with the pressure created by Zverev’s power and precision at the O2 Arena.

“He (Zverev) apologized to me at the net,” Federer said. “I was like, `Buddy, shut up. You don’t need to apologize to me here. Congratulations on a great match and a great tournament so far. All the best for the finals.’ And you move on.”

An inspired series of shots earned Zverev the first break points of the match in the 12th game and Federer sent a forehand wide to fall behind.

Federer willed himself to a break for 2-1 in the second set, but Zverev quickly composed himself to hit straight back in the following game.

Zverev overcame the freak interruption to establish a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker, and Federer netted the simplest of forehand volleys to bring up match point.

He saved the first, but Zverev confidently put away a backhand drive volley to set up a shot at the biggest title of his career and leave Federer waiting until next season for his 100th title.

“Overall, I’m happy how the season went,” said Federer, who picked up his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. “There’s many positives. So I’m excited for next season.”

Despite having reached only one Grand Slam quarterfinal, Zverev is the only active player outside the Big Four of Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to have won three Masters titles. But victory at the tour’s flagship event would exceed those achievements.

“Novak right now is the best player in the world,” said Zverev, who lost to Djokovic in the round robin. “No matter who it’s going to be, I’ll be ready.”