Djokovic resists hawk-eye calls

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The Independent Online

Novak Djokovic insists there is no need to use Hawk-Eye at the French Open, despite his fury at the line call that might have helped spare him an epic quarter-final defeat to Jurgen Melzer.

Djokovic threw away a two set lead to lose a four hour, 15 minute marathon 3-6 2-6 6-2 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 on Suzanne Lenglen Court last night.

The third seed struggled to contain his fury when an umpiring decision went against him while Melzer was serving for the match at 5-4 and 0-15 in the decider.

The Serb was adamant his shot had clipped the line, and although Carlos Bernardes came down to check the mark on the clay, the official was equally convinced the ball was out.

Hawk-Eye showed the ball was in, but Roland Garros remains the only grand slam not to employ the technology, largely because of the advantage of being able to see the impression the ball has left.

When Djokovic was told what Hawk-Eye had shown, he said: "What can I say? Should I complain or what? I don't know. This is life.

"I don't think there is any sense in getting Hawk-Eye on clay courts."

Djokovic refused to blame Bernardes for his defeat, despite branding the umpire's decision as "unbelievable".

He added: "There was no space between the line and the mark, and that means the ball is good.

"I don't know why the chair umpire made that decision. And there was another ball on 4-4, my advantage, as well, and the ball was out. But this is all part of the sport.

"Sometimes you have to be lucky as well with the calls."

Melzer was playing in his first grand slam quarter-final at the age of 29 after 31 failed attempts to reach the last eight.

Despite having turned professional back in 1999, he insisted he never stopped believing he could reach the latter stages of a major.

The Austrian said: "For me, it was never a question of talent. It was more in the head."

Melzer now faces the ultimate clay-court challenge in Rafael Nadal, who has become the overwhelming favourite to lift a fifth French Open title.

The Spaniard shook off dogged resistance from compatriot Nicolas Almagro to win 7-6 (7/2) 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 yesterday, the perfect early birthday present for the man who turns 24 today.

"I'm going celebrate during the day, not during the night," said the world number two, who will play 22nd seed Melzer tomorrow.

"I'm going to have time in Mallorca to celebrate the birthday during the night."

In the women's singles, Samantha Stosur claimed the scalp of a second modern great in successive matches after stunning world number one Serena Williams in another epic contest.

Seventh seed Stosur, who on Monday inflicted Justine Henin's first defeat at Roland Garros for six years, held off a tremendous fightback by Williams - who had match point - to win 6-2 6-7 (2/7) 8-6 and reach her second successive French Open semi-final.

Today sees her play new favourite Jelena Jankovic, who beat Yaroslava Shvedova 7-5 6-4.

Stosur said: "We played each other a couple of times recently and are one each. I know she's not going to give me anything.

"It's a bit different from playing Justine and Serena."

The other women's semi-final is between Francesca Schiavone and Elena Dementieva, with none of the final four having ever won a grand slam.