Fans condemned Australian Open broadcaster Channel Seven on Sunday night as Daria Garilova’s brave Australian Open run ended in a three-set loss to 10th seed Carla Suarez Navarro.
Garilova looked to be headed for an early, triumphant night after taking the first set 6-0, aided by a secret ‘cheat sheet’ of tactical and motivational notes supplied by her coach Nicole Pratt.
The young Australian brought the notes with her on court to remind her how to beat her Spanish opponent.
But it didn’t remain a secret for long. Incredibly – and almost certainly unethically – Channel Seven filmed it in Gavrilova’s tennis bag and then put it to air, not once, but twice.
Not only did the network freeze and zoom in on Gavrilova’s notes, commentators proceeded to dissect some of the information presented.
While it probably wasn’t a factor in Gavrilova’s defeat, Seven’s breach of trust drew an angry response on social media.
C’mon 7 don’t need to break confidences, notes are NOT for Public consumption unless Daria gives them up. Just because you can don’t #Dasha
— George Donikian (@GeorgeDonikian) January 24, 2016
I don’t think 7 should be showing Dasha’s notes on tv for future opponents to see — Mel (@GrandSlamGal) January 24, 2016
The other talking point of the loss was Gavrilova’s emotional meltdown in the third set.
At times, her antics recalled those of her Hopman Cup-winning teammate Nick Kyrgios.
“I got very emotional. I went crazy,” Gavrilova admitted at her post match press conference.
“I was like a little girl.
“[But] it’s not acceptable.”
These moments did not overshadow what was a brave performance from the 21-year-old, who only became an Australian citizen in November.
For 25 minutes Australia dared to dream it could have its first female quarter-finalist since Jelena Dokic in 2009, as Gavrilova ripped through the first set 6-0.
But from there the experience of Suarez Navarro told, and she went on to win 0-6 6-3 6-2.
While Suarez Navarro can look forward to a last-eight showdown on Tuesday with Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, Gavrilova will wonder what might have been.
She surged to within a set of matching Dokic’s feat after delivering a tactical masterclass early on at Rod Laver Arena.
Alas, Gavrilova was unable to add to her growing list of prized scalps, going down in two hours and three minutes to leave Bernard Tomic as the last Australian remaining in the 2016 singles draws.
Tomic will play Scottish second seed Andy Murray on Monday night for a place in the quarter-finals for the first time at his home grand slam event.
Gavrilova will have to be content with making the last 16 at a major for the first time after taking down two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in round two and then scoring a fighting three-set triumph over French seed Kristina Mladenovic.
The WTA’s Newcomer of 2015 is projected to enter the grand slam seeding zone at No.32 in the world following her spirited run, but will nevertheless rue a huge missed opportunity.
Three-time Open semi-finalist Pam Shriver claimed the temperamental youngster “lost the plot” after blowing a 2-0 lead and lambasting her entourage in the tense deciding third set.
“She’s clearly emotionally falling apart,” Shriver said from the ESPN commentary box as Gavrilova lost the last six games of the match as swiftly as she’d won the first six.
Australia’s last women’s hope had coming out swinging early on, breaking the Spaniard’s opening service game in a dream start to her nerve-racking centre-court debut.
Taking comparisons with Lleyton Hewitt in her stride, the high-energy, high-strutting fan favourite produced a Hewitt-like backhand topspin lob to consolidate for 3-0 before breaking Suarez Navarro again, this time to love.
Gavrilova also showed Hewitt’s grit to hold from love-40 down, moonballing the 10th seed and ghosting into the net to save one break point, then firing an ace down the middle on another in sweeping to a 5-0 lead.
She lured Suarez Navarro to the net then volley-lobbed the Spaniard in claiming a third break and taking the first set in 25 minutes.
Gavrilova had two break points for a 2-0 buffer in the second set, the let-off proving the turning point in the topsy-turvy match.
In the night’s final match on centre court, third seed Roger Federer set up a quarter-final match with Tomas Berdych after beating David Goffin.
Federer was too good for his Belgian opponent, winning 6-2 6-1 6-4 in a match that finished at 12:17am on Monday morning.
– with AAP