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Coco Gauff says she was ‘fueled’ by a lengthy argument with umpire during victory in Dubai

By George Ramsay, CNN

(CNN) — American Coco Gauff said that she was “fueled” by a heated exchange with the umpire during her 2-6 6-4 6-3 victory against Karolína Plíšková at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

The incident, which has been viewed over five million times on one social media account, came midway through the match when Gauff, having lost the first set, was serving with a 4-2 lead in the second.

Her first serve at deuce was initially called out by chair umpire Pierre Bacchi, but the world No. 3 had expected to be awarded the point after a successful challenge.

However, Bacchi said that the point should be replayed, while Gauff argued that the umpire’s call had come after Plíšková had hit a return into the net.

A tense debate lasting close to five minutes ensued, during which Gauff vehemently argued that she deserved the point because of the late call and wanted to see the tournament supervisor.

“You’re going to apologize after this match because you know you messed up,” she said. “I’ve never questioned anything like this before.”

Footage of the moment appears to show that Gauff had a point: Bacchi’s call of out did come after Plíšková had hit the ball.

“This is an absurd exchange for this umpire,” former US tennis player Andy Roddick wrote on X, formerly Twitter, adding that Bacci was “completely wrong.”

CNN has contacted the WTA Tour and the International Tennis Federation for comment regarding the incident.

In the end, Gauff replayed the point, then went on to win the game and the set. In the decider, she broke Pliskova at 4-3 and held off two break points the following game to claim the victory in one hour and 53 minutes.

“I think it just fueled me,” US Open champion Gauff said about the argument with the umpire in the second set, according to Reuters.

“It’s just one point. It happens in tennis. Players make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes. I was trying to tell myself to stay calm the next point. Sometimes I get angry and I go for too much. I was trying to let that not be the turning point for the set.

“Maybe I dragged it out a little longer than I needed to, but I did what I felt was best in that moment.”

The victory means that the 19-year-old will now face Russian world No. 40 Anna Kalinskaya in the quarterfinals in Dubai.

It will be Gauff’s third quarterfinal of 2024 having started the year with a victory in Auckland before reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Earlier this month, she had a surprise defeat against Kateřina Siniaková in the second round of the Qatar Open in Doha.

Gauff was named on Time’s Woman of the Year list on Wednesday after winning her first grand slam title at the US Open in September.

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