The game between Hungarian player Amarissa Toth and Zhang saw events turn sour during the pair’s tense clash. The match was a Round of 32 game taking place on Centre Court in Hungary’s capital city.

The game was a tight affair until the 34-year-old Chinese star hit a forehand shot across court. The ball appeared to land on the line, but was called out by the line judge.

With Zhang confident that the ball was in, the umpire came onto court to examine any markings on the clay surface. It was then claimed that the ball did land out, resulting in an incensed Zhang calling for a tournament supervisor to intervene.

The match continued for another point, with Zhang continuing to protest the decision, as Toth walked over to the spot and used her shoe to erase any markings. Witnessing this, Zhang could be heard shouting: “Keep the mark! What are you doing? Why would you do that?”

Toth then responded: “Because you’re making problems, that’s why.” With the game at a changeover a visibly distressed Zhang called her physio over before opting to resign the match, while trailing 6-5.

Videos of the incident have since surfaced online and caused outrage among fans and players alike. 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova weighed in on the incident via Twitter, saying: “Pathetic from any angle- umpire is not fit to call clay court matches and Toth is a bad sport.”

Toth has since responded following the controversial game and has denied any wrong-doing. Speaking to Radio Kossuth, when asked about the match, she said: “I don’t understand why she made such a fuss out of it, that she wanted to overrule the judge’s decision. I don’t understand why she didn’t accept it, but she made trouble for herself.”

Toth’s next match in the second round of the competition saw her face Ukrainian, Kateryna Kozlova Baindl where she was defeated in straight sets 6-3, 6-1. Directly following the result, Baindl referenced Toth’s treatment towards Zhang while still on the tennis court.

“I just hope that they can stay fair and that Zhang Shuai feels better and hopefully she is getting better and soon we will see her back,” she said. “She’s an unbelievable player, very respectful and a great person and there’s a lot to learn from her and I guess we should all stay respectful to each other that doesn’t matter what.”