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Caroline Wozniacki fury over opponent’s ‘unfair’ grunting in Qatar Open win

Caroline Wozniacki was visibly agitated in the ninth game of the first set, complaining her opponent Monica Niculescu was making noises as she was about to hit the ball

tennis Updated: Feb 16, 2018 11:23 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Doha
Caroline Wozniacki,Qatar Open,Monica Niculescu
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark reacts after winning a point from Monica Niculescu of Romania (unseen) while competing in the round of 16 during the Qatar Open tennis competition in Doha on Thursday.(AFP)

An irritated world number one Caroline Wozniacki progressed to the Qatar Open quarter-finals on Thursday in a feisty match where she complained and apparently mocked her opponent Monica Niculescu’s grunting.

The recently crowned Australian Open champion won 7-5, 6-1 against the Romanian -- who had knocked out Maria Sharapova in a previous round -- but was visibly agitated in the ninth game of the first set, complaining her opponent was making noises as the Dane was about to hit the ball.

Wozniacki was so upset about the sounds coming from the other side of the net that she complained to French umpire Emmanuel Joseph.

“It isn’t in the rule book that you are not allowed to grunt when the opposing player hits?” courtside microphones caught her asking Joseph.

The umpire said he thought everything was “regular”, but Wozniacki added: “It’s the only way she can win.”

A cursory handshake followed between the pair at the end of the third round match.

Afterwards she complained to Danish TV that her opponent had used “unfair methods”.

The spat overshadowed a relatively routine victory for the 27-year-old, which ensured she retained her number one ranking after Simona Halep also advanced to the final eight.

By reaching the quarter-finals, Halep now has a chance of reclaiming the world’s top spot if she goes one round further than the Dane.

The tournament could also see a rematch of the Australian Open final, as the pair are seeded one and two in Doha.

Halep beat Anastasija Sevastova 6-4, 6-3, hitting 29 winners on her way to victory.

First Published: Feb 16, 2018 11:23 IST