An Angry Navratilova Defeats Bunge
Top-seeded Martina Navratilova survived a torrid 13-11 tiebreaker battle and a warning from the umpire Thursday before beating Bettina Bunge, 7-6, 6-3, to advance to the semifinals of the $150,000 women’s grass court championships at Eastbourne, England.
At a crucial stage in the tiebreaker, the 28-year-old defending champion slammed a ball into the crowd in frustration following a line call that gave her West German opponent set point at 9-8.
The ball almost hit a woman spectator, and the umpire warned the American left-hander for “ball abuse.”
Navratilova leveled the tiebreaker score with her next serve and survived two more set points against her before clinching the set on her fifth set point.
At the changeover following the ball-slamming incident, Navratilova approached the spectator and apologized.
Later, she said she was angry because, when she queried the line call, the umpire told her to play on immediately instead of allowing her a 30-second break between points.
“That’s what upset me, and I tried to hit the net with the ball. As a result, I almost hit someone at the back of the court. I would have been really upset if I had.
“I kept my cool and won the next point on my serve, and after that, I calmed down.”
In the semifinals, Navratilova will meet third-seeded Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria, who demolished 12th-seeded Kathy Rinaldi, 6-1, 6-0.
Unseeded Pascale Paradis of France frittered away a set and a 4-2 lead and was beaten by 10th-seeded Wendy Turnbull of Australia, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Turnbull, 32, has a semifinal matchup with 20-year-old Czech Helena Sukova, seeded fifth, who beat 13th-seeded Barbara Potter, 6-0, 7-6.
Roger Knapp, a former All-American at USC,defeated top-seeded Henri Leconte of France, 6-4, 6-2, to claim a place in the semifinals of the $105,000 West of England championships at Bristol.
Knapp, 24, from Des Moines, Iowa, is ranked 232nd in the world. He will face Glenn Layendecker, a 24-year-old doubles specialist from Portola Valley, Calif., who defeated Nigeria’s Nduka Odizor in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-4.