Respected Australian coach Darren Cahill has divided the tennis world after some tough words for Simona Halep as world No.2 Karolina Pliskova set up a semi-final showdown with Ashleigh Barty at the season-ending showpiece in Shenzhen.

Cahill was savaged on social media for branding Halep “a disgrace” during the Wimbledon champion’s 6-0 2-6 6-4 capitulation to Pliskova on Friday night.

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But it was Cahill’s controversial courtside rev-up that overshadowed the on-court action.

Minutes after telling Halep he was proud of her for squaring the match up after being bagelled in the first set, Cahill returned to condemn the fifth seed for surrendering a 2-0 lead in the decider.

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