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'It's a joke': Tennis star melts down in 'shocking' controversy

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Karen Khachanov, pictured here kicking the net at the European Open.
Karen Khachanov kicked the net and smashed the umpire's chair with his racquet. Image: Tennis TV

Karen Khachanov was lucky to avoid disqualification after he kicked the net and smashed his racquet against the umpire’s chair in an ugly meltdown at the European Open in Antwerp.

The Russian star was left seething after a number of dubious calls from the chair umpire, with no Hawkeye at the event meaning Khachanov was powerless to get the calls overturned.

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Dan Evans beat the third seed 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4, but the match was marred by an explosive rant by Khachanov towards umpire Adel Nour.

The Russian thought he had forced a match point when Evans looked to have hit a forehand wide but there was no call from the line judge and when the umpire did not overrule, Khachanov tore into the umpire.

He said: “It's a joke, it’s a joke. Everyone can see it was out. Are you drunk today?

“What are you doing here? What are you doing here? You don't need to be here.

“It's a joke, with these guys you need to see every ball.”

Evans then took the match to a decider on the next point, while Khachanov kicked the net and then hit the umpire’s chair with his racquet before leaving the court.

Players have been defaulted for less but Nour remained lenient, despite Evans telling the official the match had become a “f***ing circus”.

Fans were quick to condemn Khachanov’s actions, however many were also critical of the umpire.

Unsurprisingly, Khachanov was unable to recover his poise and ended up losing the third set, leaving Evans to face Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the semis.

Alex de Minaur powers into semi-finals

Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur wasted no time in disposing of the challenge of American qualifier Marcos Giron in less than an hour as Australia's No.1 sped into the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-0 victory.

The 21-year-old De Minaur was in ruthless mood on Friday, converting four of his five break points as he crossed swords with a potentially dangerous floater Giron, who had beaten him in their only previous encounter at Indian Wells last year.

The first five games went with serve, before De Minaur turned up the heat to break the American world No.94 to love for a 4-2 lead.

Alex De Minaur, pictured here in action at the European Open in Antwerp.
Alex De Minaur in action at the European Open in Antwerp. (Photo by LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Once the Australian world No.29 had taken that opening set, an immediate break in a tough opening game of the second ensured De Minaur was in complete control.

De Minaur, who has made superb progress since coming within two points of defeat in his opener against Richard Gasquet, then snaffled up two more breaks to ease to a victory in just 58 minutes and set up a semi-final date with Grigor Dimitrov.

The Bulgarian, who moved through to the semi-finals when Milos Raonic withdrew from the tournament with an abdominal strain, won his only match with the Australian in last year's US Open.

with AAP

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