The Spaniard got a horrible break during his match with Cameron Norrie on Wednesday in RioJaume Munar contested a fierce battle against Cameron Norrie—not to mention umpire Mohamed Lahyani and himself—on Wednesday in Rio, and eventually came away victorious with a dramatic 7-6(5) 5-7 7-6(4) victory to reach his first 500-level quarter-final at the Rio Open.
Things were tense to begin with, as both players sensed big opportunity in a wide open draw that saw seven of the eight seeds fall in first-round action, and a see-saw battle ensued that saw Norrie save a pair of match points in the second set before forcing a decider.
Norrie then saved another match point in the third set to bring things to a tiebreaker.
Then things really got weird.
Hit a winner.
Umpire stops play thinking you asked him to check a ball mark.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 20, 2019
With Norrie serving and leading 3-2 in the breaker, umpire Lahyani thought he saw Munar make a signal to stop a point so that a mark could be checked at his baseline (see full video above). In reality, Munar was just completing an awkward follow-through on a backhand that landed for a clean winner on the other side of the court.
Since Lahyani had, in his mind, stopped the point as soon as he saw what he perceived to be Munar’s challenge, he ended up ruling that the point be replayed—after a VERY heated discussion with a riled up Munar.
Strangely, after the controversial call it was Norrie who couldn’t keep it together. He played three bad points in a row to fall behind 5-3 before Munar went ahead 6-3 on the next point and went on to finally converted his fifth match point of the match to seal the victory in three hours and 19 minutes.
After the match Munar said that he was really struggling to keep it together, especially after he had blown four match points in defeat to Guido Pella of Argentina at Buenos Aires in the quarter-finals last week.
“I had many chances in the second, also chances before the tiebreak in the final set,” Munar said. “I lost a difficult match last week against Pella in Buenos Aires with match balls and it means too much to make this after a tough battle.”
Munar will face either Felix Auger-Aliassime or Christian Garin in the quarter-finals on Friday.
“It’s going to be a tough one for sure,” he said. “Both cracked the Top 100 not long ago-same as me, so it’s going to be a beautiful one. I think we are both going to be ready and it’s going to be fun.”