Rising tennis star Daria Gavrilova has apologised for her fourth-round meltdown at the Australian Open, admitting her centre-court tantrum against Carla Suarez Navarro was unacceptable.
Gavrilova looked set to become the first home hope to reach the women’s quarter-finals in seven years after dishing out a bagel in the opening set before mentally unravelling in a gut-wrenching 0-6 6-3 6-2 on Sunday night.
While Suarez Navarro can look forward to a last-eight showdown on Tuesday with Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, Gavrilova will wonder what might have been after letting the world No.11 off the hook in spectacular fashion.
The 21-year-old chastised herself, lashed her courtside entourage, smashed her racquet – over and over – and kicked a ball in disgust in front of the sellout crowd at Rod Laver Arena.
And all this while the Melbourne local was up a service break in the third and deciding set and poised to become the first Australian woman since Jelena Dokic in 2009 to make the last eight.
But after cooling off, Gavrilova took full responsibility and vowed to lift her game.
“Yeah. It wasn’t great and I’m very disappointed with myself. I was being a little girl,” she said after admitting she’d wanted the win too much.
“I played very well in the first set. I guess I was starting to overcook it a little bit in the second and got very emotional. Yeah, was just going crazy.
“I got emotionally fried in the second set. I was getting angry with myself, just showing way too much emotion.
“I’ve never played that deep in a grand slam, so maybe that’s why.
“It’s not acceptable. I don’t know why I did that. I was terrible.
“I mean, I played good. But the behaviour, I’ve just got to learn from it.”
Gavrilova’s loss in two hours and three minutes leaves Bernard Tomic as the last Australian remaining in the 2016 Open singles draws.
Tomic will play Scottish second seed Andy Murray on Monday night for a place in the quarter-finals for the first time at his home grand slam event.
Gavrilova will have to be content with making the last 16 at a major for the first time after taking down two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in round two and then scoring a fighting three-set triumph over French seed Kristina Mladenovic.
The WTA’s 2015 Newcomer of 2015 is projected to enter the grand slam seeding zone at No.32 in the world following her spirited run, but is nevertheless lamenting a huge missed opportunity.
Three-time Open semi-finalist Pam Shriver agreed the temperamental youngster “lost the plot” after blowing her 2-0 third-set lead in the tense third set.
“She’s clearly emotionally falling apart,” Shriver said from the ESPN commentary box as Gavrilova lost the last six games of the match as swiftly as she’d won the first six.
Australia’s last women’s hope had coming out swinging early on, delivering a tactical masterclass to race through the opening set in 25 minutes.
But the match first began to turn after she was unable to convert either of two break points to gain a 2-0 buffer in the second set.
Despite the let-off, the talented hot-head said she hoped to draw some positives from the wreck.
“I was beating a top-10 player, I was winning 6-0,” she said.
“I was up 1-0 in the second set. That gives me a lot of confidence.”