Wang blames poor line calls for defeat

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 March, 2006, 12:00am

Blame the umpires. That's what Hong Kong's Wang Chen did last night after she was beaten by China's Wang Lin in the semi-finals of the US$250,000 Aviva-Cofco China Masters.

Both Wang Chen and the other losing semi-finalist in the women's singles, Mia Audina-Tjiptawan of the Netherlands, claimed they were treated unfairly by the line judges.

'There were a number of calls made in favour of the mainland players which I think is very common in a tournament held in China,' said Wang Chen, who lost 2-1 to the fast-rising youngster from Hangzhou.

'But at least it is better than before, like when I played at the National Games in Nanjing last October.'

The Hong Kong ace quit her bronze medal match at the games to protest alleged unfair treatment that led to her defeat in her semi-final tie.

Audina-Tjiptawan, however, was even more furious after she lost to China's Xie Xingfang, also 2-1, in yesterday's other semi-final.

'They did not want me to win. The line judges and service judge made calls in favour of the Chinese player,' said the two-time Olympic silver medallist.

Tang Xuehua, women's coach of the Chinese team, said it was common for the line judges to make mistakes and these might sometimes be in favour of the home team. 'We have also come across similar situations when we play overseas,' he added.

The highlights of the night was the men's semi-final clash between world number one Lin Dan of China and Denmark's Peter Gade.

Despite huge support from the home crowd, Lin, China's major hope for the 2008 Olympic Games, lost to the Dane for the second time in seven meetings. Gade, the joint third seed, prevailed 21-18, 19-21, 21-19 in 63 minutes. He will meet Chen Jin of China in today's final. Chen beat another Danish player, Kenneth Jonassen, 2-0 in the other semi-final.

Wang Chen, the joint third seed, won the opening set 21-19 in a closely contested match, and when she came back from behind to level the score at 13-13 in the following set, a dubious line call disrupted her rhythm and she never recovered. She lost the set 21-18.

In the decider, Wang Chen led 14-10 but her young mainland opponent stormed back to win 21-17.

'We are still learning in terms of how to control the pace with the new scoring system and more real matches are required before we can get used to it,' said Hong Kong coach Zheng Yuming.

'Wang Chen had played very well but Wang Lin is a very talented player. It could have been better if not for the sometimes dubious calls.'