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Tennis World Erupts Over Serena Williams’ bizarre moment with chair umpire in latest victory

Serena Williams was involved in a bizarre exchange with the chair umpire as her return to tennis continued with a second-consecutive win on Wednesday.



The American star moved into the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Eastbourne International after partnering with Ons Jabeur for a 6-2 6-4 win over Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching.



Ahead of her return to Wimbledon in the singles next week, there were signs on Wednesday that the 40-year-old is regaining some sharpness after nearly 12 months out.

She produced back-to-back pick-up shots off her toes early in the first set and reeled off three-straight aces on break points in the second game of the second set.



Williams’ serve – the biggest the women’s game has ever seen – was increasingly impressive when under the pump, and it was the 23-time grand slam singles champion who served out the victory.

But the match wasn’t without some mild controversy when Williams questioned the chair umpire over an apparent missed call in an exchange that appeared to be dripping in condescension.



Williams and Jabeur won an extraordinary point late in the second set in which Jabeur collided with the back wall while retrieving one shot.

At the change of ends, Williams appeared to believe that Aoyama had tipped the ball with her racquet earlier in the point and asked the umpire about the rules.



“Question: If they tip the ball then the point is over right?” Williams asked.

After the umpire responded that she didn’t see the tip in question, Williams said: “I just wanted to make sure. It’s been a while.”

Needless to say, the rule certainly hasn’t changed during Williams’ 12-month stint on the sidelines.




Serena Williams into semi-finals in comeback event
On the five break points she faced, Williams sent down four aces and one unreturnable serve.

Overall, her performance was more polished than Tuesday’s, when Williams and Jabeur won a deciding-set tiebreaker to advance in the grass-court tournament on England’s south coast.



Speaking after the match, Williams was keen to deflect any praise towards her partner.

“I think we played together much better today,” she said, “although I think we played really good together yesterday, too.



“But Ons really helped me out today. She was playing so good. I was just looking at her, like ‘Wow, this is great’.”

Jabeur was still in awe of the fact she’s playing alongside Williams.

“I’m getting used to this, really,” the Tunisian player said, laughing.

She then turned to Williams and said: “Do you want to play US Open?”



In the semi-finals, Williams and Jabeur will face Magda Linette and Aleksandra Krunic, who dispatched the second-seeded pair of Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos 6-1 6-3.

In the women’s singles, Beatriz Haddad Maia stayed on course for a third grass-court title in three weeks by ending the hopes of British wildcard Jodie Burrage 6-1 6-2.



Jelena Ostapenko continued the defence of her title by also advancing to the quarter-finals after Madison Keys retired, having lost the first set 6-3.

Other players into the last eight were two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Italian star Camila Giorgi.

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