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Center court disturbance at Australian Open

Center court disturbance at Australian Open

A fan who jumped onto center court at the Australian Open and shook Marin Cilic's hand following the Croatian player's semifinal loss to Andy Murray will be charged with disrupting proceedings and unauthorized entry to an arena.
The 22-year-old man wearing a Croatia football jersey jumped over a first row barricade and onto the court after Cilic was defeated late Thursday.
The man calmly strode over to Cilic and shook his hand in front of the umpire's chair before walking away and waiting for guards to escort him away.
Victoria state police said Friday the man will be charged by summons.
The 21-year-old Cilic shrugged off the incident.
"I think the fan got excited and he wanted to shake my hand, so ... I gave him a present," said Cilic. "I shook his hand. He was happy."
It was the first on-court security breach at this year's tournament. Last year, a male streaker ran onto court during a changeover in a doubles match involving Venus and Serena Williams.
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AMBASSADOR SERENA: Despite Serena Williams' infamous profanity-laced meltdown at the U.S. Open she is still considered an ambassador for women's tennis, the head of the WTA said.
"Serena herself has said it's a moment she would like to take back. She's learning from it, it's an isolated incident," WTA Tour chairman Stacey Allaster said Friday.
"She has been an incredible champion, an ambassador to women's tennis. She is moving forward and we're moving forward."
Williams lashed out at a lineswoman after a foot-fault call on a crucial point in her semifinal loss to eventual champion Kim Clijsters at the U.S. Open. It was a finger-pointing, racket-brandishing display in which Williams approached the official with what U.S. Open tournament director Jim Curley called at the time "a threatening manner."
She faced a record fine of $82,500 by the tournament and also paid a $10,000 penalty to the U.S. Tennis Association.
She has turned her punishment into a charitable opportunity by launching an online auction of her personal clothing and memorabilia in order to raise $92,000 for Haiti earthquake victims, as well as schools and charities. The target equals Williams total fine for her outburst.
"The money is going to a great cause. I don't think it would have happened if I hadn't gotten fined," Williams said last week in Melbourne.
The top-seeded Williams faces Justin Henin in the women's final Saturday.
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RISING CHINA: The unprecedented success of Chinese women at the Australian Open _ and all the attention it grabbed at home _ has reinforced the WTA's goal to expand in China.
"Building the business in China is critically important," WTA Tour chairman Stacey Allaster said.
When Li Na and Zheng Jie reached the semifinals in Melbourne it marked the first time two Chinese players had advanced that far at a Grand Slam.
China's state-run media called the women "Golden Flowers," and China Central Television showed the matches live _ as well as repeated replays.
The WTA has recently launched a Chinese-language Web site, Allaster said. A Spanish-language site will launch next week and a Russian-language site is planned for the end of the year, she said.
"We really want to be a global tour, so we'll add more languages as well," she said, calling China "the magical area" for expansion.
"We'd like to see more professional tennis in China," Allaster said.
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LEARNING FROM ANDY: Rising British tennis player Laura Robson had two specific plans Friday after reaching the finals of the girls' tournament: dinner in a popular beachfront neighbourhood and then watching the men's semifinal.
Robson _ who made it to the quarterfinals of women's doubles with Australia's Sally Peers _ said she is feeling better about her playing this year since playing mixed doubles in the Hopman Cup with Andy Murray.
"What I've learned from him is just that he runs every ball down _ and he's a lot faster than me," Robson laughed. "It's a good example."
She and Murray lost the Hopman Cup final to Spain's Tommy Robredo and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
"Playing all that doubles you feel more confident coming into singles as well," said Robson, who turned 16 last week. "I have good phases and phases which could be better but I am getting more confident."
Robson defeated Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the girls final. Asked how she would prepare for her Saturday final against Pliskova's identical twin sister, Karolina, Robson said her plans did not include tennis.
"We're going to dinner at St. Kilda tonight," she told a small, packed room of mostly British reporters. "I want to have dinner early so I can come back to my hotel and watch the match."
Murray will play in the final against No. 1-ranked Roger Federer, who beat 10th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Friday's semifinal.
"If Andy wins of course more kids are going to want to start playing," she said. "Still, if it was a Wimbledon win it'd be even more."
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AUSTRALIAN IMPORT: On the boys' side of play, new Australian Sean Berman has powered into the Australian Open boys' singles final with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 win over Hungary's Marton Fucsovics.
The 17-year-old brings a range of international appeal to his game _ born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand and the United States, his family moved to Australia just six months ago and they are in the process of becoming naturalized citizens.
Berman, whose hero is Australian Lleyton Hewitt, is thrilled to play for Australia.
"My parents decided to come to Australia and now I'm playing for Australia and I'm loving it," he said. "I think it's the best country."
Berman will play 14th seed Tiago Fernandes in Saturday's final.
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Associated Press Writer Jocelyn Gecker contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-08-02 15:22 GMT+08:00