BIRMINGHAM, England — Sabine Lisicki’s Wimbledon warm-up ended abruptly and controversially on Saturday with a 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-4 loss to 22-year-old American qualifier Alison Riske in the Birmingham quarterfinals.
The match spanned two days after rain delays forced it to be called for light on Friday night with the pair tied at 2-2 in the third set.
With Lisicki serving at 4-5, 15-love, Riske hit what she thought was a clear winner and shouted, “Come on!” before Lisicki’s racket touched the ball. Lisicki appealed to the chair umpire for a hindrance call, which would have given her the point for 30-love, but to no avail.
Incensed by the non-call, the 26th-ranked German demanded to speak to the tournament supervisor. Lisicki made her case unsuccessfully. When play resumed after the delay, Riske broke Lisicki to win the match.
Lisicki returned to the locker room and immediately tweeted her displeasure about the umpire’s decision.
“She said, ‘Come on’ before I hit the ball,” Lisicki said after the match. “You’re not supposed to do that. It shouldn’t have been her point.”
Lisicki referenced the infamous hindrance call issued against Serena Williams at the 2011 U.S. Open against Sam Stosur, Williams was given a point penalty for yelling out before Stosur was able to get her racket on the ball.
“You have rules to keep them, right?” Lisicki said. “I still had a play on it.”
Lisicki harbored no ill will toward Riske and made clear she didn’t think there was any cheating or gamesmanship involved from the American.
Riske’s run to her second WTA semifinal ended at the hands of Daniela Hantuchova, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. It had been another great week for Riske, ranked No. 167, who has an uncanny knack of playing her best in Birmingham. All 11 of her WTA main-draw wins have come in Birmingham, a fact that befuddles her as much as anyone else.
“I don’t know,” she said after the loss. “I honestly don’t really know. I just enjoy playing here.
“I’m just really comfortable here. I feel at home, in England in general. It’s just a really low-key atmosphere and everything’s run well.”