World number three Karolina Pliskova had a bad day on court as two things happened.
The more shocking of the two was her defeat to world number eight Svetlana Kuznetsova in a tight, two tie-breaker set contest.
Pliskova, who has already won in Brisbane and Doha this year, couldn’t hold a consistent performance throughout and surrendered some needless points on her way to the loss.
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But, the talk of the match was not her defeat, but more the incident of her miscued shot in the fifth game of the second set, which hit the chair umpire in the face.
It happened when Kuznetsova’s serve flew across court and at a stretch, Pliskova tried to return the ball, but instead, turned it off to the right of the court into the unsuspecting face of the umpire.
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@ChiamarsiFogna posted a video of the incident, in which the umpire laughed it off and told concerned Pliskova, Kuznetsova, and officials that she was fine.
It was clearly an accidental miscue, but this is not the first incident this year of an umpire being struck in the face with a ball.
Canadian Denis Shapovalov hit Arnaud Gabas, the chair umpire in his match again Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund in February.
His was struck in anger and saw him fined £5,600 for the incident.
Karolina Pliskova was confident going into the match following her close quarter-final win over Garbine Muguruza, which also went to two tie-breaks as she won 7-6 (7/2) and 7-6 (7/5).
With the aforementioned two titles already under her belt for 2017, it was looking to be a routine semi-final win against eighth ranked to go into the final of the Indian Wells.
However, the Czech Republic star met a very strong Russian opponent and was pushed to the edge to stay in the match.
In the first set, she was losing 5-3, but showed why she currently holds the number three world ranking by bringing the set back to a tie-break. Kuznetsova led 6-2 in the tie break and Pliskova fought well to try and reduce the deficit, but it was all in vain.
A double fault allowed Kuznetsova the chance to win the first set tie-break and she did with a well-placed forehand.
By the second set, her predicament was no better.
She did manage to steal some break serves from Kuznetsova, but her opponent did the same, effectively cancelling the positive out. And the shot that hit the umpire seemed to only add to her troubles as she lost points and had to take Kuznetsova to another tie-break.
A number of errors ultimately cost her the match and saw Kuznetsova reach the final to face her fellow country woman, Elena Vesnina.
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