LONDON — Argentina’s David Nalbandian was sensationally disqualified from the Queen’s Club final Sunday for angrily kicking an advertising board at a line judge which left the official suffering a gashed and bloodied leg.
The fiery Nalbandian, who had won the first set 7-6 (7-3) against Croatia’s Marin Cilic, had just lost his serve to fall 4-3 down in the second when he reacted with a frustrated kick at the board, which was just in front of line judge Andrew McDougall.
A stunned and angry McDougall then rolled up his trousers to reveal a bloody gash on his leg before appearing to remonstrate with Nalbandian.
Play came to a halt and after a delay of several minutes, ATP supervisor Tom Barnes came onto the court to speak to umpire Fergus Murphy and Nalbandian.
It soon emerged that the 30-year-old’s petulant behavior had been punished with disqualification “due to unsportsmanike behavior” and Cilic was declared the champion.
Nalbandian responded by waving his arms in frustration while the 6,000-capacity crowd jeered, but the former Wimbledon finalist later returned to the court to apologize for his actions.
“I am sorry to do that. Sometimes we get very frustrated here on court. It is tough to control,” he said, before also launching into a rant against ATP chiefs.
“It is a tough moment to end a final like that. Sometimes we feel the pressure from the ATP. It is a mistake and I have to pay for that. Everybody makes mistakes.
“There are a lot of rules and sometimes they don’t do anything. The rule book is very big and I can tell you the ATP do a lot to the players and nothing happens.”
Barnes, who confirmed he made the decision to eject Nalbandian as soon as he saw the line judge was hurt, said the Argentine had accepted the sanction and will be stripped of his runners-up check, worth 44,945 euros ($56,802), and 150 ATP ranking points, which he would have earned as a beaten finalist.
He could also be hit with a 10,000 euro ($12,638) fine, which will be decided by ATP chiefs at a later date.
Haas shocks Federer
In Germany, Tommy Haas showed he was still capable of springing a surprise at the age of 34 by ending a three-year title drought and beating second seed Roger Federer 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in the Halle Open final Sunday.
The German, who needed a wildcard to play in the event as he is now ranked 87th, had declared himself ‘mystified’ with his unexpected passage to the final. He was even more amazed Sunday after beating a 30-year-old opponent who was the overwhelming favorite to win a sixth title at the Wimbledon warm-up event.
Cornet bags Gastein title
In Austria, Alize Cornet of France defeated Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 7-5, 7-6 (1) Sunday to win the Gastein Ladies for her first title in four years.
The seventh-seeded Cornet, who is ranked 73rd, earned her second career title after winning in Budapest, Hungary in 2008 and is now 2-3 in WTA finals. She lost the final in Strasbourg last month.
In Birmingham, former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia will play Melanie Oudin of the US in the rain-delayed Aegon Classic final after both players won quarterfinal and semifinal matches Sunday.
The final at the grass-court warmup for Wimbledon will be Jankovic’s first in 10 months after she beat Misaki Doi of Japan 6-3, 6-4 in a quarterfinal that took three days to finish because of rain. She then rallied to beat China’s Zheng Jie 6-7(2), 7-5, 6-1. Oudin defeated Irina Falconi 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 in an all-American quarterfinal and then rallied to down eighth-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
The final will be staged on Monday. — Agencies