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WATCH: Aryna Sabalenka, Alison Van Uytvanck hug it out after contentious match point in 's-Hertogenbosch
Van Uytvanck made a valiant effort to challenge Sabalenka's winner before ultimately conceding defeat in a dramatically funny finale.
Published Jun 10, 2022
WATCH: Scenes in 's-Hertogenbosch! Sabalenka closed out a thrilling three-setter that featured a tiebreaker and a tense ending.
After over two hours on court against Aryna Sabalenka, Alison van Uytvanck didn’t want the match to end.
That would, at least in part, explain her passionate final appeal as their Libéma Open quarterfinal had ostensibly reached its conclusion, Sabalenka striking one last winner to post a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) victory.
As the top seed’s forehand found the corner, Van Uytvanck raised her hand when no call was made in what would prove a futile attempt to issue a challenge.
Umpire Meruyert Kaukeyeva missed the gesture and, in the absence of an audible challenge from the Belgian, called game, set and match for Sabalenka.
What followed was a tense scene that quickly dissolved into farce: Van Uytvanck argued at length with Kaukeyeva for the right to challenge before Sabalenka interjected, waiting for her handshake at net and confirming the call with her team.
Disarmed by the interruption, Van Uytvanck frankly admits, “I know it was in,” and all three crack up into giggles. Sabalenka pulls her vanquished opponent in for a hug and Van Uytvanck even set aside her differences with Kaukeyeva, shaking her hand before exiting the court.
It's tough to blame Van Uytvanck for a bit of behavior: the week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch has been at the mercy of some especially stormy weather. Sabalenka ended up needing several days just to finish her second round against Dutch wild card Arianne Hartono.
Standing between the former world No. 2 and a second final of the season is American Shelby Rogers, who rallied from a set down to defeat former Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.