Star defaulted for expletive-filled tirade at line judge

By Damien McCartney and AP

Andrey Rublev was sensationally defaulted from his semi final at the Dubai Tennis Championships for yelling in the face of a line judge.

The default sent Alexander Bublik through to the final with a 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-5 win.

The second-seeded Rublev erupted after Bublik won a point to take a 6-5 lead in the deciding set, believing a ball from Bublik earlier in the rally had landed deep of the baseline.

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The world No.5 immediately pointed to the baseline, walked over to the line judge and screamed in his face in Russian.

Russian speakers on social media said Rublev called the linesman a “moron”, and screamed “how is that not out” accompanied by another Russian expletive.

The confrontation forced ATP supervisor Roland Herfel to the court, accompanied by a Russian speaker.

Bizarrely, Rublev insisted to Herfel he was speaking English, and denied using profanity, despite the linesman also understanding Russian.

But umpire Miriam Bley defaulted Rublev for unsportsmanlike conduct, after which the seventh-seeded Bublik said “I’m OK to continue” with the match.

The decision will mean Rublev will forfeit all prize money and rankings points from the tournament. It will drop him out of the top-five in the rankings.

Alexander Zverev will move back up into No.5.

Rublev won the hard-court tournament in 2022 but lost to Medvedev in last year’s final.

Bublik will meet Ugo Humbert in the final, after the Frenchman defeated Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3 in the other semi-final.

It was the third time in their last four meetings Medvedev has lost to Humbert. The world No.18 was aggressive, and his left-handed serve sent the Russian top seed wide to open up the court.

“I played the perfect match today,” Humbert said.

The Frenchman’s confidence has been high since he won the Marseille title three weeks ago. That was his fifth career title. He’s never lost a final.

The big-serving Bublik is looking for his fifth singles title. The Kazakh player won Montpellier last month.

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