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#LIGHTGATE: A Danish Opera in Three Acts

Of the two matches yesterday for the White Group, Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova’s three-set epic was the one to watch. After Wozniacki squeaked by with the win, Twitter exploded with hilarious comments, memes, and an outpouring of emotions from anger to glee.

Fortunately (for the viewers), the match wasn’t without drama, in particular the melee to do with the lights in the arena.

This incident, which will henceforth be known as #LIGHTGATE, could have been one of the major differences in determining who won the match. I’m not saying it was a conspiracy, but the way I see it, it was basically the tennis equivalent of Tupac. Allegedly.

Was this deliberate? Who was at the switch? First, let’s figure out what actually happened during the match.

During the second set, the stadium lights got jealous of the action below and decided to give everyone a performance of their own. The light show obscured Wozniacki’s vision, leading her to exchange some angry words with the bescarfed umpire, Eva Asderaki. After those lights were turned off, two much brighter lights were turned on, making it impossible – in Wozniacki’s eyes – for her to play. She refused to resume until the new lights were shut down. The Singapore light gods heeded to her prayers, and the offending lights were quickly turned off. The instance led to some speculation by Wozniacki after the match:

I’m like, ‘Really?’ They’re right in the middle and they weren’t on from the start, so that was a little strange.” (tennis.com)

Is she claiming that someone attempted sabotage? This is why we need a Law & Order: Tennis Edition.  I can be Olivia Benson, obviously. Don’t worry Caroline, I’ll get down to the bottom of this.

Of course, the lights weren’t the only thing the Woz was irritated about. After a Sharapova forehand was ruled a winner, Wozniacki went off. She had already used all three of her challenges and was upset over being the only one who saw it was actually out. Her watchful eye turned out to be correct in this case, but the match had to go on.

This wouldn’t be the first time the former No. 1 found herself with No Challenges Remaining. Playing the Russian two years ago, Wozniacki seethed when Sharapova’s second serve was overruled by umpire Kader Nouni. Forced to return a first serve, Wozniacki believed it was only fair Sharapova been allowed to challenge instead of Nouni’s intercession. “At least let her challenge if I cannot challenge!” has been a catchphrase ever since.

All in all, the incident could have been worse. She at least decided to forgo asking Asderaki if she went to school:

Here’s how Twitter (and Piotr) reacted to the carnage.

Despite all of the mishaps Wozniacki had during the match, Sharapova made more mistakes. Wozniacki pulled off the upset and is now sitting comfortably (for now) at the top of the group with Agnieszka Radwanska, who gave Petra Kvitova a beating.

For the record, this was all on Day 2. Hopefully the rest of this WTA Finals can bring us some more great tennis and juicy controversy.

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