Sloane Stephens beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the China Open on Sunday, but not before throwing down the gauntlet and proclaiming that she was under attack.
Pavlyuchenkova made an attempt to hit Sloane near the net, but the American player volleyed the ball and hit it back and secured the point. Stephens realized what went down and the two engaged in a contentious and heated battle.
“That f–king bitch tried to hit me,” Stephens said accusing Pavlyuchenkova of trying to take a swipe at her with an overhead shot during the first round match, the New York Post reports.
The three-hour match didn’t sit right with Pavlyuchenkova who tried to debate points after Stephens had won. When Stephens was up 5-2 in the second set, Pavlyuchenkova called to see a trainer after Stephens got the break point.
Pavlyuchenkova calling a trainer was very much like throwing a tantrum, especially since it’s unusual for a player to make such a request before the opposing player serves the set.
Stephens also had a few choice words for umpire Jenny Zhang about Pavlyuchenkova’s child-like behavior.
“That’s the sport we play. Right? Sportsmanship. That’s really important,” Stephens said to the umpire.
Stephens and Pavlyuchenkova engaged in a volcanic exchange of words after Stephens won the second set. Enough so that Zhang had to come down from her chair to split the two up.
“I’m disrespectful? What’s disrespectful? You called the physio at 5-2. You’re not even injured,” Stephens said to Pavlyuchenkova.
“How do you know I’m not injured?” Pavlyuchenkova clapped back.
Stephens ultimately won the match in three sets, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4. On Tuesday she will play against Zheng Saisai.
This is a loud reminder of the on-court abuse Black women like Stephens and Serena Williams face when they rein at the top of their game.
While surely, we won’t see headlines condemning Pavlyuchenkova’s baby-like behavior, Williams grabbed headlines for heated exchange with Umpire Carlos Ramos’ at the US Open, Ramos accused Williams of cheating and invoked three code violations against her which cost her the game. During the exchanges, Williams called Ramos that he was a “thief,” and that she does not need to cheat to win and she demanded an apology.
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Source: Entertainment – The Grio