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.

Novak Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

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Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.