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Lahyani spot on despite Berdych protests

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Originally published on: 02/03/12 10:32

Umpire Mohamed Lahyani gave his decision, Tomas Berdych insisted he was wrong and Andy Murray was not sure what the rules said. The International Tennis Federation, however, have confirmed that Lahyani’s controversial ruling at the end of Berdych’s Dubai Duty Free Championships quarter-final defeat by Murray was the correct one.
 
On break point in the final game a Murray serve, which Berdych returned into the net, was called out. However, the Scot made a successful Hawk-Eye challenge and was awarded the point. Berdych complained, insisting that if a returner gets his racket on the ball in such a situation the point should always be replayed.
 
The umpire’s ruling was based on his opinion that the line judge’s call had not affected Berdych’s return. Indeed television replays confirmed that Berdych had actually hit the ball before the line judge made his call.
 
Lahyani is regarded by many as the best umpire in the business and it was no surprise when the ITF confirmed that he had acted according to the rules. The official “Duties and Procedures” rulebook states: “If the call is corrected from out to good, then a let must be played unless the chair umpire in his/her sole judgement determines that it was a clear ace or a clear winning shot that the player could not possibly have retrieved.”
 
Murray, nevertheless, thinks it would be fairer in such circumstances to say that a let should always be played if the returner makes enough contact with the ball to propel it forward. “Sometimes guys stretch their racket out and especially if it’s on a T serve, a big first serve, the ball hits the end of the frame and might even go behind you,” Murray said.  “Should you replay the point then? I don’t know. I think if you get the ball to go forwards, you should replay the point.”

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