Serena Williams lost her cool in a defeat at the U.S. Open again.
Down a set and serving at 30-40 in the first game of the second set against Samantha Stosur in Sunday’s final, Williams unleashed a forehand that she clearly thought was going to be a winner or at least win her the point. Serena let loose a loud “Come on” before the ball reached Stosur, who would barely get her racket on it. Umpire Eva Asderaki invoked the hindrance rule and awarded the point to Stosur. That gave the No. 9 seed the game.
Confused by the ruling, Williams said to Asderaki: “Aren’t you the one who screwed me over last time here? Yeah, you are.”
Serena told reporters after her 6-2, 6-3 loss that she couldn’t recall any incidents involving Asderaki. “I promise you if I knew I would tell you, but I don’t know off the top of my head,” Williams said. Asderaki was not the chair umpire in Williams’ match against Kim Clijsters in the 2009 U.S. Open semifinals when Serena was penalized a point on match point after berating a line judge who called a foot fault. Nor was Asderaki the umpire when a blown call cost Williams a point in a controversial quarterfinal against Jennifer Capriati at the 2004 U.S. Open, a match that helped lead to the introduction of Hawk-Eye.
Williams had been playing listlessly before Asderaki’s call, but that suddenly changed. Fired up and with the crowd behind her, Williams immediately broke back and began to raise her level of play through the early part of the second set. But she wouldn’t let the call go. She continued her rant against Asderaki on the changeover two games later.
“If you ever see me walking down the hall, look the other way, because you’re out of control,” Williams said. “You’re out of control. You’re totally out of control. You’re a hater. You’re unattractive inside. Who would do such a thing? And I never complain. Wow.”
Asked afterward if she regretted anything she said, Williams, who declined the traditional post-match handshake with Asderaki, responded: “I don’t even remember what I said. It was just so intense out there. It’s the final for me, and I was just … I guess I’ll see it on YouTube.”
Serena seemed poised for a comeback, but the 27-year-old Stosur held her own. Playing a pitch-perfect match, the Aussie won the final three games to clinch her first Grand Slam title. It was an eye-opening performance for Stosur, who has been labeled soft with a penchant for blinking during the big moments.
“I think I had one of my best days,” Stosur said. “I’m very fortunate to do it on this stage.”
UPDATE: The USTA released the following statement after the match:
Serena Williams was issued a code violation for verbal abuse by Chair Umpire Eva Asderaki at the conclusion of the first game of the second set during the US Open women’s singles final vs. Samantha Stosur.
Tournament Referee Brian Earley is presently reviewing this incident on tape and also will have further discussions with the chair umpire to determine whether this code violation will result in a fine, and, if so, the level of that fine. The decision regarding this matter will be issued tomorrow (Monday).
Any impact this code violation might have on Serena Williams’ Grand Slam probation [from her actions in the Clijsters match] would require the incident being ruled a major event. That determination will be made by the Grand Slam Committee Director.