'She started walking': Aussie fumes over ball girl blunder

‘She started walking’: Aussie fumes over ball girl blunder

Australia’s Max Purcell vented angrily at a ball girl before regaining his composure for a breakthrough singles win on Tuesday.

Purcell, who won the 2022 Wimbledon doubles title with Matthew Ebden, was distracted by a ball girl’s movement during the fourth set of his 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Hungarian Mate Valkusz.

“She literally, she picked up a drink bottle,” Purcell fumed at the umpire in Melbourne.

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“She started walking over and then around, right?”

Purcell did not argue that the point – won by Valkusz – should be replayed.

“I’m sure the ball kid there maybe thought the game was over or just got a bit confused about what stage of the point it was,” John Fitzgerald said on Nine.

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“He had a point but the umpire didn’t see it and point was over, I guess.”

It mattered little in the final equation as the 25-year-old reached the second round of the Australian Open for the first time.

He didn’t make things easy for himself, with one game in the second set lasting over 13 minutes with eight deuces, burning a number of match points in the process.

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Donning a moustache, mullet and LSKD cap, Purcell had the full support of the crowd on Kia Arena. 

“I definitely needed you guys’ support… I was gagging there. You really helped me get over the line,” he said on Nine.

“I was kind of like ‘turn it up’ – the guy was pummelling me.

“He cracked and I got through it. I think it started working for me when he started guessing on my first serve. In that first set, he gave me no chance.

“It took me forever to bloody close it out. I would have been fine for a fifth set… I’m feeling pretty good.”

Purcell will now take on 11th seed Casper Ruud in the second round. 

– with Liam O’Loughlin

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