Furious Frances Tiafoe forfeits Davis Cup clash after lashing out near umpire

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Frances Tiafoe allowed his frustrations to get the better of him as the USA crashed to defeat against the Netherlands in the Davis Cup on Thursday. The American world No 10 had already lost his first match in a group stage encounter against Croatia’s Borna Gogo 6-4, 7-6 on Wednesday and he lost out again after defaulting his tie against Tallon Griekspoor while he was two sets down.

The critical moment arrived during the third-set tiebreak when the Dutchman’s serve was called out, with Tiafoe hitting his return into the net. Griekspoor challenged the decision and line technology showed that the ball had clearly landed on the service line.

As a result, the point was awarded to Griekspoor, bringing up four match points. A miffed Tiafoe asked the chair umpire, Richard Haigh, for the point to be replayed as the ball had been called out whilst the point was still ongoing. But when the official refused, the US star started to turn angry.

“Why shouldn’t we replay the point?” argued Tiafoe.

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With tensions threatening to boil over, he escalated his grievance to the tournament referee to no avail. And faced with the daunting challenge of defending four match points, a furious Tiafoe then slammed his racket into the court several times.

Unsurprisingly, he was handed a code violation which resulted in his opponent being awarded a penalty point. And with the contest already at match point, Tiafoe not only conceded the match but also handed the Netherlands victory in the group stage tie.

Earlier in the day, Botic van de Zandschulp had beaten the USA’s Tommy Paul 7-6 (2), 6-2 in the first singles match, meaning that Tiafoe’s subsequent defeat had given the Dutch an unassailable 2-0 lead.

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Tiafoe’s fury did not extend to Griekspoor, with whom he shook hands before trudging off the court.

The American had experienced a similar situation in his previous match 24 hours earlier against Croatia’s Gojo, but on that occasion was successful in getting the point replayed.

The Netherlands now top Group D with two wins from two, leaving the Tiafoe’s team left with plenty to do. They face Finland next on Saturday.

The USA is the most successful country in the history of the Davis Cup, having won the competition a record 32 times, which includes a 17-match winning streak from 1968 to 1973. But their last overall triumph came 16 years ago in 2007, and their latest defeat won’t do much to help them change that.

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