Greg Rusedski launched into angry criticism of a line judge after a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 defeat to the Australian Patrick Rafter cost him a place in the final of the Pilot Pen International in New Haven, Connecticut.
Had Rusedski won he would have reached his fourth final this year, overtaken Tim Henman in the rankings and gained a place in the world's top 20 for the first time; instead he ended up regretting the incidents of a turbulent 12th game.
Three times he was foot-faulted, once he threw the ball at the line judge and received a code of conduct warning, twice he double-faulted and, after holding a point to reach 6-6, lost both the game and the set.
"To get called for three foot-faults in one game is almost impossible," Rusedski fumed. "But as a professional I should have handled it better. I let the foot-faults bother me. After one I stepped back and still got called a foot-fault. I thought it was a bit ridiculous. I lost the match more on the mental side than on the tennis side.
"I broke myself rather than Rafter breaking me. It wasn't the tennis which finished it off. It was on the same side I kept getting foot-faulted. On the far side it didn't happen. But if I had handled it professionally I would probably be sitting here as the winner."
Rusedski was booed after asking the umpire to move the line judge, and after that the crowd was firmly on the side of the Australian, who was always dangerous with his chip and charge tactics and athletic volleying. Rafter now meets the top-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the final.
The night before Rusedski had pulled out of the doubles because of an arm which was sore after his quarter-final win against the former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek. The discomfort may have affected him because throughout the match his percentage of first serves was low and he was often required to rally from the baseline behind his second serve.
Rusedski will now have ultra-sound and anti-inflammatory treatment on the elbow but expects to play in next week's tournament in Boston, the last before the US Open.
Monica Seles dispatched Conchita Martinez late in Saturday's Du Maurier Open semi-final after the top seed dropped the opening game. But Seles broke Martinez in the next game, recovering from a 15-40 deficit, and assumed a 5-1 lead en route to a 6-2, 7-6 victory.
Seles was due to meet Germany's Anke Huber in yesterday's final. Huber advanced when Mary Joe Fernandez withdrew with tendinitis of the wrist after the second set.Reuse content