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Australia loses its last Wimbledon hope

Tennis

Australia's Wimbledon singles campaign is over following a tough second-round loss for Arina Rodionova.

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The qualifier let slip a big second-set lead in going down 6-4 7-6 (7-4) to Kazakh wildcard Zarina Diyas in a rollercoaster one-hour and 50-minute encounter.

The world No.166 was valiant in defeat despite taking to the court barely 36 hours after the arrest and release of her AFL-star husband Ty Vickery, who is continuing to assist police with an extortion investigation.

Playing in searing London heat, Rodionova’s emotions threatened to boil over as she engaged in a running battle with umpire Mariana Alves over line calls and her repeated complaints that the court was “too slippery”.

Alves is the same official that had coins tossed towards her chair by Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday after the livid Russian accused her of not wanting him to beat Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans – which he didn’t.

The veteran official withstood several verbal tirades from a frustrated Rodionova as the feisty baseliner almost self-destructed from 5-1 up in the second set.

Rodionova missed two set points on Diyas’ serve before dropping her own serve twice to allow the Kazakh to level the set at 5-5.

But, out of nowhere, Australia’s improbable first-round saviour broke Diyas from 40-love to steal an opportunity to serve out the second set.

Alas, despite grittily fighting off four break points, Rodionova was unable to level the match.

But the 27-year-old fought desperately until the very end.

Exhausted in her comeback from injury, Diyas collapsed into Rodionova’s arms in a warm embrace at the net after finally putting the Australian away after winning the rally of the match.

Rodionova’s exit leaves Australia without a third-round representative in either the men’s or women’s singles draw for the first time since 2012.

-AAP 

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